Skip to main content

Full text of "Lucan : the civil war books I-X (Pharsalia)"

See other formats


Presented to 






Professor Millar Maclure 



tT. E. PAGE, C.H., LITT.D. 

fE. CAPPS, PH.D., LL.D. fW. H. D. ROUSE, litt.d. 

L. A. POST, L.H.D. E. H. WARMINGTON, m.a., f.r.hist.soc. 



J. D. DUFF, M.A. 


Books I— X 











First printed 1928 
Reprinted 1943, 1951, 1957, 19S2 


Frintfd in Great Britain 



PREFACE - vii 


BOOK 1 ....... 1 



BOOK IV , 173 

BOOK V 237 

BOOK VI 303 

BOOK vn 367 


BOOK IX ... , 503 

BOOK X 589 

INDEX 633 


Scholars are aware that tlie text and interpreta- 
tion of Lucan have been greatly changed for the 
better by the edition of Professor A. E. Housman 
(Blackwell, 1926). By Mr. Housman's kind per- 
mission, his text has been reprinted here, with few 
and unimportant deviations. The critical notes 
below the text have only one object — to warn the 
reader where the words in the text have no manu- 
script authority and depend solely on conjecture. 
Those who desire an apparatus criticus must seek 
it in the editions of Dr. Hosius (Teubner, 1913) 
and Mr. Housman. 

The translator is also deeply indebted to Mr. 
Housman's commentary and to his lectures on 
Lucan delivered at Cambridge in ten successive 
years. Many apt renderings were taken down in 
his lecture-room, and many convincing solutions of 
difficulties were there propounded. In particular, 
the interpretation of the astronomical problems 
depends entirely upon Mr. Housman. 

The translation does not profess to be a literal 
version of the original. Lucan's manner of ex-| 
pression is so artificial that such a version would \> 
be unintelligible to an English reader, unless it 
were supplemented by copious notes ; and it is a 
rule of this series that notes shall be, as far as 



possible, suppressed. The translator's object has 
been to reproduce Lucan's meaning in English that 
can be understood, keeping close to the Latin text 
when possible, but deviating from it when a literal 
rendering would puzzle and mislead. Some notes 
explanatory of the translation are indispensable ; 
but these have been added sparingly, and none of 
them are long. 

One feature of the translation may be worth 
notice here. All Latin poets make free use of 
apostrophe, more than is common in Greek or 
English, and Lucan uses it more freely than any 
of them. In this translation the apostrophe is, in 
general, suppressed and the sentence turned in a 
different way ; the figure is reserved for the more 
important occasions. In Latin apostrophe is often 
a metrical device, and often a meaningless conven- 
tion. There are indeed in Lucan many passages 
where it adds to the rhetorical effect. Yet even here 
I believe that more is gained than lost, if it is 
generally ignored in the translation. The com- 
bination of apostrophe and plain statement, common 
in Lucan, is hardly endurable in English ; and also 
the reader is puzzled and confused when Lucan 
addresses his rhetorical appeal to two or three 
different persons or places in the same paragraph. 

Mr. P. W. Duff, Fellow of Trinity College, Cam- 
bridge, gave me much valuable help in preparing the 
book for publication. 





1. Liican's Life 

The few facts that are known of Lucan's perf;onal 
history are derived chiefly from two ancient Lives 
prefixed to some of his manuscripts. One of these,\ 
which is mutilated^ is attributed to Suetonius, and 
the other to Vacca, a grammarian probably of the 
sixth century. The circumstances that led to his 
death, and his death itself, are related at length 
by Tacitus in his Annals (xv. cc. 48-70). 

Marcus Annaeus Lucanus was born at Corduba 
(now Cordova) in Spain on November 3, a.d. 39, 
was taken to Rome when he was seven months old, 
and died at Rome on April 30, a.d. 65. He was 
therefore in his twenty-sixth year at the time of 
his death. Hardly any other event of his life can 
be assigned to a fixed date. 

Though his family was of provincial origin and 
not noble in the Roman sense of the word, because 
no member of it had held the magistracies at Rome, 
yet Lucan enjoyed every advantage that wealth and 
connexion could give. His father, M Annaeus 
Mela, was never a senator ; but his uncle, Lucius 
Annaeus Seneca, became the most famous man of 
his time. First governor and then minister of the 
Emperor Nero, he held the office of consul a.d. 56; 
he was the most powerful and the richest subject of 



the empire ; and he was also the most prolific and 
popular writer of his day. There is no doubt that 
Lucan was reared under the eye of his uncle, whose 
only son died in childhood. 

The boy received from the most eminent teachers 
the education then given to youths of the governing 
/ class at Rome. This education was directed to a 

c* M single object — the acquisition of rhetorical skill ; it 
began with the study of literature and was com- 
pleted in the school of the rhetor or professor of 
rhetoric. We are told that Lucan from the first 
showed astonishing ability and proved himself 
superior to all his fellow-students and not inferior 
to his instructors themselves. He was taught the 
Stoic philosophy by Cornutus, who had among his 
pupils at the same time another poet, the satirist 
Persius. There are frequent echoes of Stoic dogma 
in Lucan's work, and the whole of it is pervaded — 
one might almost say, poisoned — by the rhetoric of 
the schools. He began to write very early and 
published works both in prose and poetry. He 
married at a date unknown Polla Argent-aria, who 
combined every possible attraction — youth and 
beauty, wealth, virtue, and intellect.^ 

For a time he was in high favour with Nero. The 
young emperor, who wao two years older than Lucan, 
took an interest in literature and sought fame, not 
only as a musician but also as a poet. At the 
Nerojiia, a festival held in Nero's honour, Lucan 
delivered a speech in praise of the emperor. We 
are told that he was recalled from Athens, where 
he was probably residing for the purpose of study, 
and received two marks of imperial favour ; he was 

* Statius, Siluae, ii. 7, 81-88. 


appointed quaestor, though he had not reached the 
legal age for holding that office ; and he was also 
nominated a member of the college of augurs. 

But these friendly relations did not last long. 
It appears that Nero became jealous of Lucan's 
growing reputation : the young and ambitious poet 
was forbidden to publish his writings or even to 
recite them to his friends. Stung by resentment, 
Lucan took an active and leading part in a con- 
spiracy which was formed for the purpose of de- 
throning Nero and putting him to death. The 
conspiracy was discovered and the conspirators were 
arrested, Lucan's courage failed him in the hour 
of peril, and he tried to save his life by incriminating 
others, among whom was his own mother, Acilia. 
But this baseness availed him nothing : he was 
forced to die, but permitted to choose the manner 
of his death. He chose a method of suicide which 
was common at the time : he had his veins opened 
in a warm bath and, as he was dying, repeated some 
verses of his own which described the death of a 
soldier from loss of blood. 

His family was involved in his ruin : his father 
and his uncles, Seneca and Gallio, were forced to 
end their own lives. His widow, Polla Argentaria, 
survived her husband many years and continued to 
celebrate each anniversary of his birth.^ It is 
evident that he left no child to bear his name. 

2. Lucan s Poem 

Though Lucan wrote much during his short life, 
only one work has survived, but this was held to be 

1 The poem of Statius (Siluae, ii. 7) was written for one 
of these anniversaries ; see also Martial vii. 21 and 23. 



his masterpiece. It is an epic poem in ten hooks, 
describing the contest between Caesar and the 
Senate. The work was still unfinished when the 
author died. For the narrative breaks off abruptly, 
and it is also significant that the last book is much 
shorter than any of the others. It is tolerably clear 
that Lucan meant to end the story with Caesar's 
murder in March 44 b.c. ; but it now ends in the 
middle of Caesar's military operations at Alexandria 
in the winter of 48-47. We are told that Lucan 
revised only the first three books and that the last 
seven were published after his death ; but this could 
not have been inferred from the evidence of the 
books themselves. 

The poem used to be called " The Pharsalia/' and 
the title is convenient. But it is not appropriate, 
because it applies only to the events of one book, 
the seventh. Nur has it ancient authority: the title 
given in the manuscripts is De Bello Civili, " Con- 
cerning the Civil War." The mistake probably 
arose from the words Pharsalia nostra (ix. 985), 
which were wrongly ^ interpreted as " my poem, the 

No reasonable judgment can rank Lucan among 
the world's great epic poets. He does not tell his 
story well : the successive episodes are neither 
skilfully connected nor well proportioned. His 
frequent digressions are often irrelevant and much 
too long. His geographical descriptions are obscure 
and wearisome. His account of military operations 
is hard to follow : he is concise where detail is 
needed and dwells at length on trivial or irrelevant 
matters. To him the narrative is of secondary 

^ See note on this line. 


importance: his interest lies elsewhere; the words 
said matter more in his view than the things done. 
His power and force are undeniable ; but he lacks 
the chief gifts that a great epic poet must possess. 

He ventured on one innovation which seemed 
bold to his contemporaries. He discarded all that | 
supernatural machinery which Virgil had taken over \ 
from Homer. The gods play no part in the action ; 
Venus never comes down from Olympus to protect 
Caesar, her descendant. The later epic poets did 
not follow Lucan's example in this matter ; but 
there is no doubt that he was right. He was deal- 
ing with Roman history and with fairly recent 
events ; and the introduction of the gods as actors 
must have been grotesque. 

Quintilian in his short notice of Lucan sums up 
his merits adequately : " Lucan's poem is full of fire 
and energy and famous for epigram ; and, to speak 
my mind, he is a safer model for the orator than for 
the poet." ^ The truth is, that Lucan is not a poet 
in the sense in which Lucretius and Virgil are poets ; 
he is read, not for any poetical quality but for his 
rhetorical invective and his pungent epigrams. His 
diction and rhythm are monotonous : he makes no 
attempt to imitate the elaborate harmonies of 
Virgil. It appears that his purpose is less to charm 
his readers than to startle them and maketheir flesh 
creep ; and with this object he has constant recourse 
to extravagant exaggeration or repulsive detail. 
Whether he would have written better if he had 
lived longer we cannot tell ; but, for all his faults, 

^ Quint. Inst, Or. x. 1. 90: Lucanua ardens et concitatus et 
sentenliis claHssimns, et, ut dicarn quod sentio, magis oraiorihus 
quam poetis tmttavdits. 



he won a high reputation among his own country- 
men ; and Statins and Martial, writing long after his 
death, do not scruple to name him as the writer of 
Latin epic poetry who comes nearest to Virgil. 

In modern times also great writers have admired 
Lucan's poem. Shelley actually preferred Lucan to 
Virgil and immortalised his name in the Adonais. 
Macaulay read the poem through repeatedly, and 
recorded his opinion as follows at the end of the 
volume on August 30, 1835. 

^' When Lucan's age is considered, it is impossible 
not to allow that the poem is a very extraordinary 
one, more extraordinary, perhaps, than if it had been 
of a higher kind ; for it is more common for the 
imagination to be in full vigour at an early time of 
life than for a young man to obtain a complete 
mastery of political and philosophical rhetoric, I 
know no declamation in the world, not even Cicero's 
best, which equals some passages in the Pharsalia,^ 
As to what were meant for bold poetical flights — the 
sea-fight at Marseilles, the centurion who is covered 
with wounds, the snakes in the Libyan desert ^ — it 
is all as detestable as Cibber's Birthday Odes. The 
furious partiality of Lucan takes away much of the 
pleasure which his talents would otherwise afford. 
A poet who is, as has often been said, less a poet 
than a historian, should to a certain degree conform 
to the laws of history. The manner in which he 
represents the two parties is not to be reconciled 
with the laws even of fiction. The senators are 

^ Macaulay elsewhere picks out as specially eloquent the 
enumeration of Pompey's exploits (viii. 806-822) and Cato's 
character of Pompey (ix. 190-203). 

2 iii, 583 foil. ; iv. 138-262 ; ix. 700-889. 



demigods ; Pompey, a pure lover of his country ; 
Cato, the abstract idea of virtue ; while Caesar, the 
finest gentleman, the most humane conqueror, and 
the most popular politician that Rome ever produced, 
is a bloodthirsty ogre. If Lucan had lived, he 
would probably liave improved greatly." 









Bella per Emathios plus quam civilia campos, 

lusque datum seel eri canimus^ populumque potentem 

In sua victrici conversum viscera dextra, 

Cognatasque acies, et rupto foedere regni 

Certatum totis eoncussi viribus orbis 6 

In commune nefas, infestisque obvia signis 

Signa, pares aquilas et pila minantia pilis. 

Quis furor^ o cives, quae tanta licentia ferri ? 
Gentibus invisis Latium praebere cruorem, 
Cumque superba foret Babylon spolianda tropaeis 10 
Ausoniis umbraque erraret Crassus inulta, 
Bella geri placuit nullos habitura triumphos ? 
Heu, quantum terrae potuit pelagique parari 
Hoc quem civiles hauserunt sanguine dextrae, 
Unde venit Titan, et nox ubi sidera condit, 15 

Quaque dies medius' flagrantibus aestuat auris,^ 

* auris Oudendorp : horis MS8. 

* Because Pompey and Caesar were not merely fellow-citizens 
but kinsmen. 

* Emathia is used freely by Lucan as a synonym for either 
Thessaly or Pharsalia, 



Of war I sing, war worse than civil,^ waged over 
the plains of Emathia,^ and of legality conferred on 
crime ; I tell how an imperial people turned their 
victorious right hands against their own vitals ; how 
kindred fought against kindred ; how, when the 
compact of tyranny ^ was shattered, all the forces of 
the shaken world contended to make mankind 
guilty; how standards confronted hostile standards, 
eagles were matched against each other, and pilum * 
threatened pilum. 

What madness was this, my countrymen, what 
fierce orgy of slaughter ? While the ghost of Crassus 
still wandered unavenged, and it was your duty to 
rob proud Babylon ^ of her trophies over Italy, did you 
choose to give to hated nations the spectacle of 
Roman bloodshed, and to wage wars that could win 
no triumphs ? Ah ! with that blood shed by Roman 
hands how much of earth and sea might have been 
bought — where the sun rises and where night hides 

' The First Triumvirate, formed by Pompey, Caesar, and 
Crassus in 60 B.C. 

* The javelin of the Roman legionary. 

* Babylon is used here as a synonym for Parthia : the 
real capital was Ctesiphon. 


Et qua bruma rigens ac nescia vere remitti 

Astringit Scythico glacialem frigore pontum ! 

Sub iuga iam Seres, iam barbarus isset Araxes, 

Et gens si qua iacet nascenti conscia Nilo. 20 

Turn, si tantus amor belli tibi, Roma, nefandi, 

Totum sub Latias leges cum miseris orbem. 

In te verte manus ; nondum tibi defuit hostis. 

At nunc semirutis pendent quod moenia tectis 

Urbibus Italiae lapsisque ingentia muris 26 

Saxa iacent nulloque domus custode tenentur 

Rarus et antiquis habitator in urbibus errat, 

Horrida quod dumis multosque inarata per annos 

Hesperia est desuntque manus poscentibus arvis, 

Non tu, Pyrrhe ferox, nee tantis cladibus auctor 30 

Poenus erit ; nulli penitus descendere ferro 

Contigit : alta sedent civilis volnera dextrae. 

Quod si non aliam venturo fata Neroni 
Invenere viam magnoque aeterna parantur 
Regna deis cael unique suo servire Tonanti 35 

Non nisi saevorum potuit post bella gigantum, 
Iam nihil, o superi, querimur ; scelera ista nefasque 
Hac mercede placent ; diros Pharsalia campos 
Inpleat et Poeni saturentur sanguine manes ; 
Ultima funesta concurrant proelia Munda ; 40 

His, Caesar, Perusina fames Mutinaeque labores 
Accedant fatis et quas premit aspera classes 
Leucas et ardenti servilia bella sub Aetna : 

1 The Euxine or Black Sea. * Hannibal. 

3 At Thapsus. * The battle of Actiura is meant. 



the stars, where the South is parched with burning 
airs, and where the rigour of winter tliat no spring 
can thaw binds the Scythian sea ^ with icy cold ! Ere 
this the Chinese might have passed under our yoke, 
and the savage Araxes, and any nation that knows 
the secret of Nile's cradle. If Rome has such a lust 
for unlawful warfare, let her first subdue the whole 
earth to her sway and then commit self-slaughter ; so 
far she has never lacked a foreign foe. But, if now in 
Italian cities the houses are half-demolished and the 
walls tottering, and the miglity stones of mouldering 
dwellings cumber the ground ; if the houses are 
secured by the presence of no guard, and a mere 
handful of inhabitants wander over the site of 
ancient cities ; if Italy bristles with thorn-brakes, 
and her soil lies unploughed year after year, and the 
fields call in vain for hands to till them, — these 
great disasters are not due to proud Pyrrhus or the 
Carthaginian ^ ; no other sword has been able to 
pierce so deep ; the strokes of a kindred hand are 
driven home. 

Still, if Fate could find no other way for the 
advent of Nero ; if an everlasting kingdom costs 
the gods dear and heaven could not be ruled by its 
sovran, the Thunderer, before the battle with the 
fierce Giants, — then we complain no more against 
the gods : even such crimes and such guilt are not 
too high a price to pay. Let Pharsalia heap her 
awful plains with dead ; let the shade of the Cartha- 
ginian 2 be glutted with carnage ; ^ let the last 
battle be joined at fatal Munda; and though to 
these be added the famine of Perusia and the horrors 
of Mutina, the ships overwhelmed near stormy 
Leucas^ and the war against slaves hard by the 


Multum Roma tamen debet civilibus armis, 

Quod tibi res acta est. Te, cum statione peracta 46 

Astra petes serus, praelati regia caeli 

Excipiet gaudente polo ; seu sceptra tenere, 

Seu te flammigeros Phoebi conscendere currus, 

Telluremque nihil mutato sole timentem 

Igne vago lustrare iuvet, tibi numine ab omni 60 

Cedetur, iurisque tui natura relinquet, 

Quis deus esse velis, ubi regnum ponere mundi. 

Sed neque in arctoo sedem tibi legeris orbe, 

Nee polus aversi calidus qua vergitur austri, 

Unde tuam videas obliquo sidere Romam. 65 

Aetheris inmensi partem si presseris unam, 

Sentiet axis onus. Librati pondera caeli 

Orbe tene medio ; pars aetheris ilia sereni 

Tota vacet, nullaeque obstent a Caesare nubes. 

Tum genus humanum positis sibi consulat armis, 60 

Inque vicem gens omnis amet ; pax missa per orbem 

Ferrea belligeri conpescat limina lani. 

Sed mihi iam numen ; nee, si te pectore vates 

Accipio, Cirrhaea velim secreta moventem 

Sollicitare deum Bacchumque avertere Nysa : 65 

Tu satis ad vires Romana in carmina dandas. 

Pert animus causas tantarum expromere rerum, 
Inmensumque aperitur opus, quid in arma furentem 
Inpulerit populum, quid pacem excusserit orbi. 
Invida fatorum series summisque negatum 70 

1 Weight is a regular attribute of divinity in ancient 



flames of Etna, yet Rome owes much to civil war, 
because what was done was done for you, Caesar. 
When your watch on earth is over and you seek the 
stars at last, the celestial palace you prefer will 
welcome you, and the sky will be glad. Whether 
you choose to wield Jove's sceptre, or to mount the 
fiery chariot of Phoebus and circle earth with your 
moving flame — earth unterrified by the transference 
of the sun ; every god will give place to you, and 
Nature will leave it to you to determine what deity 
you wish to be, and where to establish your universal 
throne. But choose not your seat either in the 
Northern region or where the sultry sky of the 
opposing South sinks down : from these quarters 
your light would look aslant at your city of Rome. 
If you lean on any one part of boundless space, the 
axle of the sphere will be weighed down ^ ; maintain 
therefore the equipoise of heaven by remaining at the 
centre of the system. May that region of the sky 
be bright and clear, and may no clouds obstruct our 
view of Caesar ! In that day let mankind lay down 
their arms and seek their own welfare, and let all 
nations love one another; let Peace fly over the 
earth and shut ftist the iron gates of warlike Janus. 
But to me you are divine already ; and if my breast 
receives you to inspire my verse, I would not care to 
trouble the god who rules mysterious Delphi, or to 
summon Bacchus from Nysa : you alone are sufficient 
to give strength to a Roman bard. 

My mind moves me to set forth the causes of 
these great events. Huge is the task that opens 
before me — to show what cause drove peace from 
earth and forced a frenzied nation to take up arms. 
It was the chain of jealous fate, and the speedy 


Stare diu nimioque graves sub pondere lapsus 

Nee se Roma ferens. Sic, cum conpage solnta 

Saecula tot muiidi suprema coegerit hora, 

Antiquum repetens iterum chaos, [omnia ^ mixtis 

Sidera sideribus concurrent] ignea pontum 7j 

Astra petent, tellus extendere littora nolet 

Excutietque fretum, fratri contraria Phoebe 

Ibit et obliquum bigas agitare per orbem 

Indignata diem poscet sibi, totaque discors 

Machina divolsi turbabit foedera mundi. 80 

In se magna ruunt : laetis hunc numina rebus 

Crescendi posuere modum. Nee gentibus ullis 

Commodat in populum terrae pelagique potentem 

Invidiam Fortuna suam. Tu causa malorum 

Facta tribus dominis communis, Roma, nee unquam 86 

In turbam missi feralia foedera regni. 

O male Concordes nimiaque cupidine caeci. 

Quid miscere iuvat vires orbemque tenere 

In medio ? dum terra fretum terramque levabit 

Aer et longi volvent Titana labores 90 

Noxque diem caelo\totidem per signa sequetur. 

Nulla fides regni sociis, omnisque potestas 

Inpatiens consortis erit. Nee gentibus ullis 

Credite, nee longe fatorum exempla petantur : 

Fraterno primi maduerunt sanguine muri. 06 

Nee pretium tanti tellus pontusque furoris 

^ omnia — concurrent was excluded by Bentley. 

1 I.e. she will heave them up. 

2 The moon drives two horses {hiqae) ; the sun has four. 
^ The triumvirs. * The twelve signs of the Zodiao. 



fall which no emincDce can escape ; it was the 
grievous collapse of excessive weight, and Home 
unable to support her own greatness. Even so,' 
when the framework of the world is dissolved and the 
final hour, closing so many ages, reverts to primeval 
chaos, then [all the constellations will clash in con- 
fusion,] the fiery stars will drop into the sea, and earth, 
refusing to spread her shores out flat,^ will shake 
off the ocean ; the moon will move in opposition to 
her brother, and claim to rule the day, disdaining to 
drive her chariot ^ along her slanting orbit ; and the 
whole distracted fabric of the shattered firmament 
will overthrow its laws. Great things come crash- 
ing down upon themselves — such is the limit of 
growth ordained by heaven for success. Nor did 
Fortune lend her grudge to any foreign nations, to 
use against the people that ruled earth and sea : the 
doom of Kome was due to Rome herself, when she 
became the joint property of three masters,^ and 
when despotism, which never before was shared 
among so many, struck its bloody bargain. Blinded 
by excess of ambition, the Three joined hands for 
mischief. What boots it to unite their strength and 
rule the world in common? As long as earth 
supports the sea and air the earth ; as long as his 
unending task shall make the sun go round, and 
night shall follow day in the heavens, each passing 
through the same number of signs *-^so long will 
loyalty be impossible between sharers in tyranny, 
and great place will resent a partner. Searcli not 
the history of foreign nat7jns for proof, nor look far 
for an instance of Fate's decree : the rising walls of 
Rome M'ere wetted with a brother's blood. Nor was 
such madness rewarded then by lordship over land 


Tunc erat : exiguum dominos commisit asylum. 

Temporis angusti mansit concordia discors, 
Paxque fuit non sponte ducum ; nam sola futuri 
Crassus erat belli medius mora. Qualiter undas 100 
Qui secat et geminum gracilis mare separat Isthmos 
Nee patitur conferre fretum, si terra recedat, 
Ionium Aegaeo frangat mare : sic_, ubi saeva 
Arma ducum dirimens miserando funere Crassus 
Assyrias Latio maculavit sanguine Carrhas, 105 

Parthica Romanos solverunt damna furores. 
Plus ilia vobis acie, quam creditis, actum est, 
Arsacidae : bellum victis civile dedistis. 
Dividitur ferro regnum, populique potentis. 
Quae mare, quae terras, quae totum possidet orbem, 
Non cepit fortuna duos. Nam pignora iuncti 111 

Sanguinis et diro ferales omine taedas 
Abstulit ad manes Parcarum Julia saeva 
Intercepta manu. Quod si tibi fata dedissent 
Maiores in luce moras, tu sola furentem 115 

Inde virum poteras atque hinc retinere parentem 
Armatasque manus excusso iungere ferro, 
[Jt generos soceris mediae iunxere Sabinae. 
Morte tua discussa fides, bellumque movere 
Permissum ducibus. Stimulos dedit aemula virtus : 
Tu, nova ne veteres obscurent acta triumphos 121 

Et victis cedat piratica laurea Gallis, 

* The earliest settlement of Romulus was a sanctuary for 

" The Parthian kings bore the name of Arsaces ; hence the 
nation are called Arsacidae here and elsewhere in the poem. 

' Julia, daughter of Caesar and wife of Pompey, died in the 
autumn of 54 B.C. The "dread omen " apparently refers to her 
coming death. 

* Lucan uses this name for Pompey more often than 
1 Pompeius : Caesar he always calls Caesar. 



and sea : the narrow bounds of the Asylum * pitted its 
owners one against the other. 

For a brief space the jarring harmony was main- 
tained, and tliere was peace despite the will of the 
chiefs ; for Crassus, who stood between, was the only 
check on imminent war. So the Isthmus of Corinth 
divides the main and parts two seas with its slender 
line, forbidding them to mingle their waters ; but if 
its soil were withdrawn, it would dash the Ionian sea 
against the Aegean. Thus Crassus kept apart the 
eager combatants ; but when he met his pitiable end 
and stained Syrian Carrhae with Roman blood, the 
loss inflicted by Parthia let loose the madness of 
Rome. By that battle the Parthians ^ did more than 
they realise : they visited the vanquished with civil 
war. The tyrants' power was divided by the sword ; 
and the wealth of the imperial people, that possessed 
sea and land the whole world over, was not enough 
for two. For, when Julia ^ was cut off by the cruel 
hand of Fate, she bore with her to the world below 
the bond of affinity and the marriage which the 
dread omen turned to mourning. She alone, had 
Fate granted her longer life, might have restrained 
the rage of her husband on one side and her father 
on the other ; she might have struck down their 
swords and joined their armed hands, as the Sabine 
women stood between and reconciled their fathers 
to their husbands. But loyalty was shattered by 
the death of Julia, and leave was given to the 
chiefs to begin the conflict. Rivalry in worth 
spurred them on ; for Magnus * feared that fresher 
exploits might dim his past triumphs, and that his 
victory over the pirates might give place to the 
conquest of Gaul, while Caesar was urged on by 



Magne, limes ; te iam series ususque laborum 
Erigit inpatiensque loci fortuna secundi ; 
Nee quemquam iam ferre potest Caesarve priorem 
' Pompeiusve parem. Quis iustius induit arma, 126 

Scire nefas ; magno se iudice quisque tuetur : 
Victrix causa de is placuit, sed victa Cato ni. 
Nee coiere pares. Alter vergentibus annis 
In senium longoque togae tranquillior usu 130 

Dedidicit iam pace ducem, famaeque petitor 
Multa dare in volgus, totus popularibus auris 
Inpeliij plausuque sui gaud ere theatri. 
Nee reparare novas vires^ multumque priori 
Credere fortunae. Stat magni nominis umbra ; 135 

Qualis frugifero quercus sublimis in agro 
Exuvias veteres populi sacrataque gestans 
Dona ducum nee iam validis radicibus haerens 
Pondere fixa suo est, nudosque per aera ramos 
EfFundens trunco, non frondibus, efficit umbram ; 140 
Et quamvis primo nutet casura sub Euro, 
Tot circum silvae firmo se robore tollant, 
Sola tamen colitur. Sed non in Caesare tantum 
Nomen erat nee fama ducis, sed nescia virtus 
Stare loco, solusque pudor non vincere bello ; 145 

Acer et indomitus, quo spes quoque ira vocasset, 
Ferre manum et numquam temerando parcere ferro, 
Successus urguere suos, instare favori 
Numinis, inpellens, quidquid sibi summa petenti 
Obstaret, gaudensque viam fecisse ruina. 160 

^ Pompey, born in 106 B.C., was six years older than Caesar. 


continuous effort and familiarity with warfare, and 
by fortune that brooked no second place. Caesar 
could no longer endure a superior, nor Pompey 
an equal. Which had the fairer pretext for war- 
fare, we may not know : each has high authority to 
support him ; for, if the victor had the gods on his 
side, the vanquished had Cato. The two rivals were 
ill-matched. The one was somewhat tamed by de- 
clining years ; ^ for long he had worn the toga and for- 
gotten in peace the leader's part ; courting reputa- 
tion and lavish to the common people, he was swayed 
entirely by the breath of popularity and delighted 
in the applause that hailed him in the theatre he 
built ; and trusting fondly to his former greatness, 
he did nothing to support it by fresh power. The 
mere shadow of a mighty name he stood. Thus 

j^j an oak-tree, laden with the ancient trophies of a 
nation and the consecrated gifts of conquerors, 
towers in a fruitful field ; but the roots it clings by 
have lost their toughness, and it stands by its weight 
alone, throwing out bare boughs into the sky and 
making a shade not with leaves but with its trunk ; 

iT' though it totters doomed to fall at the first gale, 
while many trees with sound timber rise beside it, 
yet it alone is worshipped. But Caesar had more 
than a mere name and military reputation : his 
energy could never rest, and his one disgrace was 
to conquer without war. He was alert and head- 
strong ; his arms answered every summons of am- 
bition or resentment; he never shrank from using 
the sword lightly ; he followed up each success and 
snatched at the favour of Fortune, overthrowing 
every obstacle on his path to supreme power, and 
rejoicing to clear the way before him by destruction. 



Qualiter expressum ventis per nubila fulmen 

Aetheris inpulsi sonitu mundique fragore 

Emicuit rupitque diem populosque paventes 

Terruit obliqua praestrin^^ns lumina flamma ; 

In sua templa furitj nullaque exire vetante 155 

Materia magnamque cadens magnamque revertens 

Dat stragem late sparsosque recolligit ignes. 

Hae ducibus causae ; suberant sed publica belli 
Semina^ quae populos semper mersere potentes. 
Namque, ut opes nimias mundo fortuna subacto 160 

Intulit et rebus mores cessere secundis, 
Praedaque et hostiles luxum suasere rapinae, 
Non auro tectisve modus, mensasque priores 
Aspernata fames ; cultus gestare decoros 
Vix nuribus rapuere mares; fecunda virorum 165 

Paupertas fugitur, totoque accersitur orbe 
Quo gens quaeque perit ; turn longos iungere fines 
Agrorum, et quondam duro sulcata Camilli 
Vomere et antiquos Curiorum passa ligones 
Longa sub ignotis extendere rura colonis. 170 

Non erat is populus, quern pax tranquilla iuvaret, 
Quem sua libertas inmotis pasceret armis. 
Inde irae faciles et, quod suasisset egestas, 
Vile nefas, magnumque decus ferroque petendum, 
Pius patria potuisse sua, mensuraque iuris 175 

Vis erat ; hinc leges et plebis scita coactae 

* There was only one famous Curius ; but Latin often uses 
the plural in the sense of "men like Curius" ; of. 1. 313. 



Even so the lightning is driven forth by wind 
through the clouds : with noise of the smitten 
heaven and crashing of the firmament it flashes out 
and cracks the daylight sky, striking fear and terror 
into mankind and dazzling the eye with slanting 
flame. It rushes to its appointed quarter of the 
sky ; nor can any solid matter forbid its free course, 
but both falling and returning it spreads destruction 
far and wide and gathers again its scattered fires. 

Such were the motives of the leaders. But among 
the people there were hidden causes of war — the 
causes which have ever brought down ruin upon 
imperial racei^. For when Rome had conquered the 
world and Fortune showered excess of wealth upon 
her, virtue was dethroned by prosperity, and the 
spoil taken from the enemy lured men to extrava- 
gance : they set no limit to their wealth or their 
dwellings ; greed rejected the food that once sufficed ; 
men seized for their use garments scarce decent for 
women to wear ; poverty, the mother of manhood, be- 
came a bugbear ; and from all the earth was brought 
the special bane of each nation. Next they stretched 
wide the boundaries of their lands, till those acres, 
which once were furrowed by the iron plough of 
Camillus and felt the spade of a Curius^ long ago, 
grew into vast estates tilled by foreign cultivators. 
Sucli a nation could find no pleasure in peace and 
quiet, nor leave the sword alone and grow fat on 
their own freedom. Hence they were quick to 
anger, and crime prompted by poverty was lightly 
regarded ; to overawe the State was high distinction 
which justified recourse to the sword ; and might 
became the standard of right. Hence came laws 
and decrees of the people passed by violence ; and 



Et cum consulibus turbantes iura tribuni ; 

Hinc rapti fasces pretio sectorque favoris 

Ipse sui populus letalisque ambitus urbi 

Annua venali referens certamina Campo ; 180 

Hinc usura vorax avidumque in tempora fenus 

Et concussa fides et multis utile bellum. 

lam gelidas Caes^' cursu superaver^ Alpes 
Ingentesque^animo^ motus bellum que futurum 
Ceperat. Ut ventu m es t parvi Rubiconis ad unda^, 
Tngens visa duci patnae trepidantis imago 186 

Clar^ per obscuram vpltu niaestissima noctem, 
Turrigero c^nos effundens vertice crines, 
Caesarie_lacera njudisque ads_tare lacjertis 
Et gengijitu permixta loqui : '' Quo tenditis ultra ? 190 
Quo fertis mea signa, viri ? si iure venitis, 
Si cives, hue usque licet." Tum perculit horror 
Membra ducis, riguere comae, gressumque coercens 
Languor in extrema tenuit vestigia ripa. 
Mox ait : " O magnae qui moenia prospicis urbis 195 
Tarpeia de rupe, Tonans, Phrygiique penates 
Gentis luleae et rapti secreta Quirini 
Et residens celsa Latiaris luppiter Alba 
Vestalesque foci simimique o numinis instar, 
Roma, fave coeptis ; non te furialibus armis 200 

Persequor ; en adsum victor terraque marique 
Caesar, ubique tuus — liceat modo, nunc quoque — miles. 

1 Order should be represented by the consuls, and progress by 
the tribunes; but both bodies were equally factious. 

- Elections to the magistracies were held in the Campn,s 

3 Personifications of cities often wear this kind of crown. 



consuls and tribunes ^ alike threw justice into con- 
fusion ; hence office was snatched by bribery and 
the people put up its own support for auction, while 
corruption, repeating year by year the venal com- 
[>etition of the Cainpus,^ destroyed the State ; 
lience came devouring usury and interest that looks 
greedily to the day of payment ; credit was shattered, 
and many found their profit in war. 

And now Caesar had hastened across the frozen 
Alps and had conceived in his heart the great 
rebellion and the coming war. When he reached 
the little river Rubicon, the general saw a vision of 
his distressed country. Her mighty image was 
clearly seen in the darkness of night; her face 
expressed deep sorrow, and from her head, crowned 
with towers,^ the white hair streamed abroad ; she 
stood beside him with tresses torn and arms bare, 
and her speech was broken by sobs : " Whither do 
ye march further ? and whither do ye bear my 
standards, ye warriors ? If ye come as law abiding 
citizens, here must ye stop." Then trembling smote 
the leader's limbs, his hair stood on end, a faintness 
stopped his motion and fettered his feet on the edge 
of the river-bank. But soon he spoke: '^O God 
of thunder, who from the Tarpeian rock lookest out 
over the walls of the great city ; O ye Trojan gods 
of the house of lulus, and mysteries of Quirinus 
snatched from earth ; O Jupiter of Latium, who 
dwellest on Alba's height, and ye fires of Vesta; 
and thou, O Rome, as sacred a name as any, smile 
on my enterprise ; I do not attack thee in frantic 
warfare ; behold me here, me Caesar, a conqueror 
by land and sea and everywhere thy champion, as I 
would be now also, were it possible. His, his shall 

VOL. I b 


Ille erit, ille nocens, qui me tibi fecerit hostem/* 
Inde moras solvit belli tumidumque per amnem 
Signa tulit propere ; sicut squalentibus arvis 205 

Aestiferae Li byes vlso leo comminus hoste 
Subsedit dubius, totam dum colligit iram ; 
Mox, ubi se saevae stimulavit verbere caudae 
Erexitque iubam et vasto grave murmur hiatu 
Infremuit, turn, torta levis si lancea Mauri 210 

Haereat aut latum subeant venabula pectus. 
Per ferrum tanti securus volneris exit. 

Fonte cadit modico parvisque inpellitur undis 
Puiiiceus Rubicon, cum fervida canduit aestas, 
Perque imas serpit valles et Gallica certus 216 

Limes ab Ausoniis disteniiinat arva colonis. 
Tum vires praebebat hiemps, atque auxerat undas 
Tertia iam gravido pluvialis Cynthia cornu 
Et madidis Euri resolutae flatibus Alpes. 
Primus in obliquum sonipes opponitur amnem 220 

Excepturus aquas ; moUi tum cetera rumpit 
Turba vado faciles iam fracti fluminis undas. 
Caesar, ut adversam superato gurgite ripam 
Attigit, Hesperiae vetitis et const! tit arvis, 224 

" Hie," ait, '^ hie pacem temerataque iura relinquo ; 
Te, Fortuna, sequor. Procul hinc iam foedera sunto ; 
Credidimus satis his,^ utendum est iudice bello." 
Sic fatus noctis tenebris rapit agmina ductor 
Inpiger, et torto Balearis vjerbere fundae 

* satis his TTowman : fat is MSS. 

^ I.e., rushes on so violently that the spear pierces him 
through and through. 

2 The meaning is that there had been three nights of rain. 



be the guilt, who has made me thine enemy." 
Then he loosed war from its bonds and carried his 
standards in haste over the swollen stream. So on 
the untilled fields of sultry Libya, when the lion sees 
his foe at hand, he crouches down at first uncertain 
till he gathers all his rage ; but soon, when he has 
maddened himself with the cruel lash of his tail, 
and made his mane stand up, and sent forth a roar 
from his cavernous jaws, then, if the brandished 
lance of the nimble Moor stick in his flesh or a 
spear pierce his great chest, he passes on along the 
length of the weapon,^ careless of so sore a wound. 

The ruddy river Rubicon glides through the 
bottom of the valleys and serves as a fixed landmark 
to divide the land of Gaul from the farms of Italy. 
Issuing from a modest spring, it runs with scanty 
stream in the heat of burning summer ; but now it 
was swollen by winter ; and its waters were increased 
by the third rising of a rainy moon ^ with moisture- 
laden horn, and by Alpine snows which damp blasts 
of wind had melted. First the cavalry took station 
slantwise across the stream, to meet its flow ; thus 
the current was broken, and the rest of the army 
forded the water with ease. When Caesar had 
crossed the stream and reached the Italian bank on 
the further side, he halted on the forbidden terri- 
tory : " Here," he cried, " here I leave peace behind 
me and legality which has been scorned already; 
henceforth I follow Fortune. Hereafter let me 
hear no more of agreements. In them I have put 
my trust long enough ; now I must seek the arbitra- 
ment of war." Thus spoke the leader and quickly 
urged his army on through the darkness of night. 
Faster he goes than the bullet whirled from the 



Ocior et missa Parthi post terga sagitta, , 230 

Vicinumque minax invadit Ariminum, et ignes 

Solis lucifero fugiebant astra relicto. 

lanique dies primos belli visura tumultus 

Exoritur ; seu sponte deiini, seu turbidus auster 

Inpulerat, maestam tenuerunt nubila lucem. 236 

Constitit ut capto iussus deponere miles 

Signa foro, stridor litimm clangorque tubarum 

Non pia concinuit cum raueo classica cornu. 

Rupta quies populi, stratisque excita iuventus 

Deripuit sacris adfixa peiiatibus arma, 240 

Quae pax longa dabat : nuda iam crate fluentes 

Invadunt clipeos curvataque cuspide pila 

Et scabros nigrae morsu rubiginis enses. 

Ut notae fulsere aquilae Romanaque signa 

Et celsus medio conspectus in agmine Caesar^ 246 

Deriguere metu, gelidos pavor occupat artus, 

Et tacito mutos volvunt in pectore questus : 

" O male vicinis haec moenia condita Gallis, 

O tristi damnata loco ! pax alta per omnes 249 

Et tranquilla quies populos ; nos praeda furentum 

Primaque castra sumus. Melius, Fortuna, dedisses 

Orbe sub Eoo sedera gelidaque sub arcto 

Errantesque domos, Latii quam claustra tueri. 

Nos primi Senonum motus Cimbrumque ruentem 


- J ' BOOK I 

Balearic sling, or the arrow which the Parthian 
shoots over his shoulder. Ariniinum was the nearest 
town, and he brought terror there, when the stars 
were fleeing from the sunlight and the morning 
star alone was left. So the day dawned that was 
to witness the first turmoil of the war ; but clouds 
veiled the mournful light, either because the gods 
so willed or because the stormy South wind had 
driven them up. When the soldiers halted in the 
captured forum and were bidden to lay down their 
standards, the blare of trumpets and shrill note of 
clarions together with the boom of horns sounded 
the alarm of civil war. The inhabitants were roused 
from sleep. Starting from tlieir beds, the men 
snatched down the arms that hung beside the house- 
hold gods — such arms as the long peace supplied : 
they lay hold on shields that are falling to pieces 
with framework exposed, javelins with their points 
bent, and swords roughened by the bite of black 
rust. But when they recognised the glitter of the 
Roman eagles and standards and saw Caesar mounted 
in the midst of his army, they stood motionless with 
fear, terror seized their chilly limbs, and these un- 
uttered complaints they turn over in their silent 
breasts : " Alas for our town, built with Gaul beside 
it and doomed by its unlucky site to misfortune ! 
Over all the earth there is profound peace and un- 
broken quiet ; but we are the booty and first bivouac 
of these madmen. Fate would have been kinder 
if she had placed us under the Eastern sky or the 
frozen North, and made us guard the tents of 
nomads rather than the gates of Italy. We were 
the first to witness the movement of the Senones, 
the onrush of the Cimbrian, the sword of Hannibal, 


Vidimus et Martem Libyae cursumque furoris 265 

Teutonici : quotieiis llomam fortuna lacessit, 

Hac iter est bellis." Gemitu sic quisque latenti, 

Non ausus timuisse palam ; vox nulla dolori 

Credita ; sed quantum, volucres cum bruma coercet, 

Rura silent, mediusque tacet sine murmure pontus, 

Tanta quies. Noctis gelidas lux solverat umbras, 

Ecce faces belli dubiaeque in proelia menti 262 

Urguentes addunt stimulos cunctasque pudoris 

Rumpunt fata moras ; iustos Fortuna laborat 

Esse ducis motus et causas invenit armis. 265 

Expulit ancipiti discordes urbe tribunos 

Victo iure minax iactatis curia Gracchis. 

Hos iam mota ducis vicinaque signa petentes 

Audax venali comitatur Curio lingua, 

Vox quondam populi libertatemque tueri 270 

Ausus et armatos plebi miscere potentes. 

Utque ducem varias volventem pectore curas 

Conspexit : '' Dum voce tuae potuere iuvari, 

Caesar," ait ^^ partes, quamvis nolente senatu, 

Traximus imperium, tum cum mihi rostra tenere 275 

lus erat et dubios in te transferre Quirites. 

At postquam leges bello siluere coactae, 

Pellimur e patriis laribus patimurque volentes 

Rxilium ; tua nos faciet victoria cives. 

Dum trepidant nullo firmatae robore partes, 280 

ToUe moras ; semper nocuit diiferre paratis. 

1 The dates of these invasions are: 390, 101, 218, and 101 B.C.: 
Lucan's order is artificial. 

2 Whom the Senate had crushed in 133 and 121 b.c. The 
tribunes expelled on this occasion were Antony and Q. Cassius. 



and the wild career of the Teutones * : whenever 
Fortune attacks Rome, the warriors take their way 
through us." This was each man's muffled groan ; 
none dared to utter his fear aloud, nor was any 
voice lent to their grief; such is the silence of the 
country when winter strikes the birds dumb, and 
such the silence of mid-ocean in still weather. 
When light had banished the cold shades of night, 
lo ! destiny kindled the flame of war, applying to 
Caesar's hesitating heart the spur that pricked him 
to battle, and bursting all the barriers that reverence 
opposed. Fate was determined to justify Caesar's 
rebellion, and she found excuse for drawing the 
sword. For the Senate, trampling on the laws, had 
menaced and driven out the wrangling tribunes 
from the distracted city, and boasted of the doom 
of the Gracchi ^ ; and now the fugitives made for 
Caesar's camp, already far advanced and close to 
Rome. With them came Curio of the reckless 
heart and venal tongue ; yet once he had been the 
spokesman of the people and a bold champion of 
freedom, who dared to bring down the armed chiefs 
to the level of the crowd. When Curio saw Caesar 
turning over shifting counsels in his heart, he spoke 
thus : " Caesar, while my voice could serve your side 
and when I was permitted to hold the Rostrum and 
bring over doubting citizens to your interest, I pro- 
longed your command in defiance of the Senate. 
But now law has been silenced by the constraint 
of war, and we have been driven from our country. 
We suffer exile willingly, because, your victory will 
make us citizens again. While your foes are in 
confusion and before they have gathered strength, 
make haste ; delay is ever fatal to those who are 



Par labor atque metus, pretio maiore petiintur. 
Bellanteni gemiiiis tenuit te Gallia lustris. 
Pars quota terrarum ! facili si proelia pauca 
Gesseris eventu, tibi Roma subegerit orbein. 285 

Nunc neque te longi remeantem pom{)a triumphi 
Excipit, aut sacras poscunt Capitolia laurus ; 
Livor edax tibi cuncta negat, gentesque subactas 
Vix inpune feres. Socerum depellere regno 
Decretum genero est ; partiri non potes orbem, 290 

Solus habere potes." Sic postquam fatus, et ipsi 
In bellum prono tantum tamen addidit irae 
Accenditque ducem, quantum clamore iuvatur 
Eleus sonipes, quamvis iam carcere clauso 
Inmineat foribus pronusque repagula laxet. 295 

Convocat armatos extemplo ad signa maniplos, 
Utque satis trepidum turba coeunte tumultum 
Conposuit voltu dextraque silentia iussit, 
" Bellorum o socii, qui mille pericula Martis 
Mecum" ait '' expert! decimo iam vincitis anno, 300 

Hoc cruor Arctois meruit difFusus in arvis 
Volneraque et mortes liiemesque sub Alpibus actae } 
Non secus ingenti bellorum Roma tumultu 
Concutitur, quam si Poenus transcenderet Alpes 
Hannibal: inplentur validae tirone cohortes ; 305 

In classem cadit omne nemus ; terraque marique 
lussus Caesar agi. Quid ? si mihi signa iacerent 



prepared. The toil and danger are no greater than 
before, but the prize you seek is higher. Twice 
five years Gaul kept you fighting ; but how small 
a part of the earth is Gaul ! Win but two or three 
battles, and it will be for you that Rome has subdued 
the world. As it is, no long triumphal procession 
awaits your return, nor does the Capitol demand 
your consecrated laurels ; gnawing envy denies you 
all things, and you will scarce go "unpunished for 
your conquest of foreign nations. Your daughter's 
husband has resolved to thrust you down from 
sovereignty. Half the world you may not have, but 
you can have the whole world for yourself." Eager 
for war as Caesar was already, these words of Curio 
increased his rage and fired his ardour none the 
less ; so the race-horse at Olympia is encouraged 
by the shouting, although he is already pressing 
against the gates of the closed barrier and seeking 
to loosen the bolts with his forehead. At once 
Caesar summoned his armed companies to the 
standards; his mien quieted the bustle and con- 
fusion of the assembling troops, his right hand 
commanded silence, and thus he s])oke : " Men who 
have fought and faced with me the peril of battle 
a thousand times, for ten years past you have been 
victorious. Is this your reward for blood shed on 
the fields of the North, for wounds and death, and 
for winters passed beside the Alps? The huge 
hubbub of war with which Rome is shaken could be 
no greater, if Carthaginian Hannibal had crossed 
the Alps. Cohorts are raised to their full strength 
with recruits ; every forest is felled to make ships ; 
the word has gone forth that Caesar be chased by 
land and sea. What would my foes do if my 



Marte sub adverse, ruerentque in terga feroces 

Gallorum populi ? nunc, cum fortuna secundis 

Mecum rebus agat superique ad summa vocantes, 310 

Temptamur. Veniat longa dux pace solutus 

Milite cum subito partesque in bella togatae 

Marcellusque loquax et, nomina vaiia, Catones. 

Scilicet extremi Pompeium emptique clientes 

Continue per tot satiabunt tempora regno ? 315 

I lie reget currus nondum patientibus annis ? 

Ille semel raptos numquani dimittet honores? 

Quid iam rura querar totum suppressa per orbem 

Ac iussam servire famem ? quis castra timenti 

Nescit mixta foro, gladii cum triste micantes 320 

ludicium insolita trepidum cinxere corona, 

Atque auso medias perrumpere milite leges 

Pompeiana reum clauserunt signa Milonem ? 

Nunc quoque, ne lassum teneat privata senectus, 

Bella nefanda parat suetus civilibus armis 325 

Et docilis Sullam scelerum vicisse magistrum. 

Utque ferae tigres nunquam posuere furorem, 

Quas nemore Hyrcano, matrum dum lustra secuntur, 

Altus caesorum pavit cruor armentorum, 

Sic et Sullanum solito tibi lambere ferrum 330 

Durat, Magne, sitis. Nullus semel ore receptus 

Pollutas patitur sanguis mansuescere fauces. 

Quem tamen inveniet tarn longa potentia finem ? 

Quis scelerum modus est ? ex hoc iam te, inprobe, regno 

* 0. Marcellus was consul in 49 b.c. ; the other consul was 

* In 57 B.C. Pompey was put in charge of the corn-supply, 
with proconsular powers for five years. 



standards lay prostrate in defeat and the tribes of 
Gaul were rusliing in triumph to attack my rear? 
As it is, when Fate deals kindly with me and the 
gods summon me to the highest place, my foes chal- 
lenge me. Let their leader, enervated by long 
peace, come forth to war with his hasty levies and 
un warlike partisans — Marcellus,^ that man of words, 
and Cato, that empty name. Shall Pompey for- 
sooth be glutted by his vile and venal minions with 
despotic power renewed so often without a break ? 
Shall Pompey hold the chariot reins before reaching 
the lawful age ? Shall Pompey cling for ever to 
the posts he has once usurped ? Why should I 
next complain that he took into his own hands the 
harvests of the whole world and forced famine to 
do his bidding ? ^ Who knows not how the barrack 
invaded the frightened law-court, when soldiers 
with the grim gUtter of their swords stood round 
the uneasy and astonished jurors ? how the warrior 
dared to break into the sanctuary of justice, and 
Pompey's standards besieged Milo in the dock r 
Now once again, to escape the burden of an obscure 
old age, Pompey is scheming unlawful warfare. 
Civil war is familiar to him : he was taught 
wickedness by Sulla and is like to outdo his teacher. 
As the fierce tiger, who has drunk deep of the blood 
of slain cattle when following his dam from lair to 
lair in the Hyrcanian jungle, never after loses his 
ferocity, so Magnus, once wont to lick the sword 
of Sulla, is thirsty still. When blood has once been 
swallowed, it never permits the throat it has tainted 
to lose its cruelty. Will power so long continued 
ever find an end, or crime a limit? He is never 
content ; but let him learn one lesson at least from 



Ille tuus saltern doceat descendere Sulla. 335 

Post Cilicasne vagos et lassi Pontica regis 

Proelia barbarico vix consummata veneno 

Ultima Pompeio dabitur provincia Caesar, 

Quod non victrices aquilas deponere iussus 

Paruerim ? mihi si merces erepta laborum est, 340 

His saltern longi non cum duce praemia belli 

Reddantur ; miles sub quolibet iste triumphet. 

Conferet exsanguis quo se post bella senectus ? 

Quae sedes erit emeritis ? quae rura dabuntur. 

Quae noster veteranus aret ? quae moenia fessis ? 345 

An melius fient piratae, Magne, coloni ? 

Tollite iampridem victricia, tollite, signa ; 

Viribus utendum est, quas fecimus. Arma tenenti 

Omnia dat, qui iusta negat. Neque numina derunt ; 

Nam neque praeda meis neque regnum quaeritur armis : 

Detrahimus dominos urbi servire paratae." 351 

Dixerat ; at dubium non claro murmure volgus 
Secum incerta fremit. Pietas patriique penates 
Quamquam caede feras mentes animosque tumentes 
Frangunt ; sed diro ferri revocantur amore 355 

Ductorisque metu. Summi turn munera pill 
Laelius emeritique gerens insignia doni, 
Servati civis referentem praemia quercum, 
" Si licet," exclamat " Romani maxime rector 

^ The Cilicians stand for the Mediterranean pirates generally. 
The King of Pontus was Mithradates ; when reduced to despair, 
he took poison, but it failed to kill him. 

2 I.e. justifies him in taking even mora 

^ Probably a tictitious person. 



his master, Sulla— to step down at this stage from 
his unlawful power. First came the roving Cilicians, 
and then the lingering warfare with the King of 
Pontus^ — warfare hardly completed by the infamy 
of poison ; shall I, Caesar, be assigned to Pompey 
as his crowning task, because, wlien bidden lay 
down my victorious eagles, I was disobedient ? But, 
if I am robbed of the reward for my labours, let my 
soldiers at least, without their leader, receive the 
recompense of their long service ; and let them 
triumph, be their leader who he may. What 
harbour of peace will they find for their feeble old 
age, what dwelling-place for their retirement ? 
What lands will my veterans receive to till, what 
walls to shelter their war-worn frames ? Shall 
Magnus give the pirates preference as colonists? 
Lift up, lift up the standards that have long been 
victorious ! We must employ the strength we have 
created. He who denies his due to the strong man 
armed grants him everything.^ Nor will the favour 
of Heaven fail us ; for neither booty nor empire is 
the object of my warfare : we are but dislodging a 
tyrant from a State prepared to bow the knee." 

Thus he spoke ; but the men wavered and muttered 
doubtfully under their breath with no certain sound. 
Fierce as they were with bloodshed and proud of 
heart, they were unnerved by love of their country 
and their country's gods, till brought to heel by 
horrid love of slaugiiter and fear of their leader. 
Then Laelius,^ who held the rank of chief centurion 
and bore the decoration of a well-earned badge — the 
oak-leaves which are the reward for saving a Roman's 
life — cried out thus : '' Mightiest captain of the 
Roman nation, if I have leave to speak and if it 



Nominis, et ius est veras expromere voces, -^ 360 

Quod tain lenta tuas tenuit patientia vires, 

Conquerimur. Deratne tibi fiducia nostri? 

Dum movet haec calidus spirantia corpora sanguis, 

Et dum pila valent fortes torquere lacerti, 

Degenerem patiere togam regnumque senatus ? 365 

Usque adeo miserum est civili vincere bello ? 

Due age per Scythiae populos, per inhospita Syrtis 

Litora, per calidas Libyae sitientis harenas : 

Haec manus, ut victum post terga relinqueret orbem, 

Oceani tumidas remo conpescuit undas^ 370 

Fregit et arctoo spumantem vertice Rhenum : 

lussa sequi tam posse niihi quam velle necesse est. 

Nee civis meus est, in quem tua classica, Caesar, 

Audiero. Per signa decern felicia castris 

Perque tuos iuro quocumque ex hoste triumphos : 376 

Pectore si fratris gladium iuguloque parentis 

Condere me iubeas plenaeque in viscera partu 

Coiiiugis, invita peragam tamen omnia dextra ; 

Si spoliare deos ignemque inmittere templis, 

Numina miscebit castrensis flamma monetae ; 380 

Castra super Tusci si ponere Thybridis undas, 

Hesperios audax veniani metator in agros ; 

Tu quoscumque voles in planum effundere muros. 

His aries actus disperget saxa lacertis, 

Ilia licet, penitus tolli quam iusseris urbem, 385 

Roma sit." His cunctae simuJ adsensere cohortes 

Elatasque alte, quaecumque ad bella vocaret. 

1 The meaning is : "However arduous a campaign you require 
of me, 1 have the power to go through with it, as I have proved 
already in the Gallic wars." 



be right to confess the truth, our complaint is, that 
you have borne too much and restrained your 
strength too long. Was it confidence in us that 
you lacked ? While the warm blood gives motion 
to these breathing frames, and while our muscles 
have strength to hurl the pilum, will you submit 
to the disgrace of wearing the toga and to the 
tyranny of the Senate? Is it so wretched a fate 
to be victorious in a civil war? Lead us straight- 
way through the tribes of Scythia, or the inhospitable 
shore of the Syrtes, or the burning sands of thirsty 
Libya — that we might leave a conquered world at 
our backs, these hands tamed with the oar the 
swelling waves of Ocean and the foaming eddies 
of the northern Rhine — I must have as much power 
as will to follow where you lead.^ If I hear your 
trumpet sound the charge against any man, he is no 
countryman of mine. By your standards, victorious 
in ten campaigns, and by your triumphs I swear, 
whoever be the foe whom you triumph over — if you 
bid me bury my sword in my brother's breast or 
my father's throat or the body of my teeming wife, 
1 will perform it all, even if my hand be reluctant. 
If you bid me plunder the gods and fire their 
temples, the furnace of the military mint shall melt 
down the statues of the deities ; if you bid me pitch 
the camp by the waters of Etruscan Tiber, I shall 
make bold to invade the fields of Italy and there 
mark out the lines ; whatever walls you wish to 
level, these arms shall ply the ram and scatter 
the stones asunder, even if the city you doom to 
utter destruction be Rome." To this speech all the 
cohorts together signified their assent, raising their 
hands on high and promising their aid in any war 



Promisere manus. It tantus ad aethera clamor, 
Quaintus_, piniferae Boreas cum Thracius Ossae 
Rupibus incubuit, curvato robore pressae 390 

Fit son us aut rursus redeuntis in aethera silvae. 
Caesar, ut acceptum tam prono milite bellum 
Fataque ferre videt^ ne quo languore moretur 
Fortunam, sparsas per Gallica rura cohortes 
Evocat et Romam motis petit undique signis. 395 

Deseruere cavo tentoria fixa Lemanno 
Castraque, quae Vosegi curvam super ardua ripam 
Pugnaces pictis cohibebant Lingonas armis. 
Hi vada liquerunt Isarae, qui, gurgite ductus 
Per tam multa suo, famae maioris in amnem 400 

Lapsus, ad aequoreas nomen non pertulit undas. 
Solvuntur flavi longa statione Ruteni ; 
Mitis Atax Latias gaudet non ferre carinas 
Finis et Hesperiae, promoto limite, Varus ; 
Quaque sub Herculeo sacratus nomine portus 405 

Urguet rupe cava pelagus : non Corus in ilium 
lus habet aut Zephyrus, solus sua litora turbat 
Circius et tuta prohibet statione Monoeci : 
Quaque iacet litus dubium, quod terra fretumque 
Vindicat alternis vicibus, cum funditur ingens 410 

Oceanus, vel cum refugis se fluctibus aufert. 
Ventus ab extremo pelagus sic axe volutet 
Destituatque ferens, an sidere mota secundo 

^ The name of a local wind. 

* The tides on the Belgian coast are meant here. 



to which Caesar summoned them. Their shout rose 
to heaven : as loud as, when the Thracian North wind 
bears down upon the cHffs of pine-clad Ossa, the 
forest roars as the trees are bent towards earth, or 
again as they rebound into the sky. 

When Caesar saw that war was so eagerly wel- 
comed by the soldiers, and that Fate was favourable, 
he would not by any slackness delay the course of 
destiny, but summoned his detachments scattered 
through the land of Gaul and moved his standards 
from every quarter for the march on Rome. The 
soldiers left their tents pitched by Lake Leman 
among the mountains, and the camp which crowned 
the winding bank of the Vosegus, and controlled the 
warlike Lingones with their painted weapons. 
Others left the fords of the Isara — the river which 
travels so far with its own waters and then falls 
into a more famous stream, losing its name before 
it reaches the sea. The fair-haired Ruthenians 
were freed from the garrison that long had held 
them ; the gentle Atax, and the Varus, the boundary 
of Italy enlarged, rejoiced to carry no Roman keels ; 
free was the harbour sacred under the name of 
Hercules, whose hollow cliff encroaches on the sea 
— over it neither Corus nor Zephyrus has power : 
Circius ^ alone stirs up the shore and keeps it to 
himself and bars the safe roadstead of Monoecus ; 
and free the strip of disputed coast, claimed in 
turn by land and sea, when the enormous Ocean 
either flows in or withdraws with ebbing waves.^ 
Does some wind from the horizon drive the sea 
thus on and fail it as it carries it ? Or are the 
,. waves of restless Tethys attracted by the second 
of the heavenly bodies and stirred by the phases 



Tethyos unda vagae lunaribus aestuet horis, 

Flammiger an Titan, ut alentes hauriat undas, 415 

Erigat oceanum fluctusque ad sidera ducat, 

Quaerite, quos agitat mundi labor ; at mibi semper 

Til, quaecumque moves tam crebros causa meatus, 

Ut superi voluere, late. Tunc rura Nemetis 

Qui tenet et ripas Aturi, qua litore curvo 420 

Molliter admissum claudit Tarbellicus aequor, 

Signa movet, gaudetque amoto Santonus boste 

Et Biturix longisque leves Suessones in armis, 

Optimus excusso Leucus llemusque lacerto. 

Optima gens flexis in gyrum Sequana frenis, 425 

Et docilis rector monstrati Belga covinni, 

Arvernique ausi Latio se fingere fratres 

Sanguine ab Iliaco populi, nimiumque rebellis 

Nervius et caesi pollutus foedere Cottae, 

Et qui te laxis imitantur, Sarmata, bracis 430 

Vangiones, Batavique truces, quos acre recurvo 

Stridentes acuere tubae ; qua Cinga pererrat 

Gurgite, qua Rbodanus raptum velocibus undis 

In mare fert Ararim, qua montibus ardua summis 

Gens habitat cana pendentes rupe Cebennas. 435 

TPictones inmunes subigunt sua rura ; nee ultra 

instabiles Turones circumsita castra coercent. 

In nebulis, Meduana, tuis marcere perosus 

Andus iam ])lacida Ligeris recreatur ab unda. 

Inclita Caesareis Genabos dissolvitur alis.] ^ 440 

u quoque laetatus convert! proelia, Trevir, 
¥A nunc tonse Ligur, quondam per colla decore 
Crinibus effusis toti praelate Comatae ; 
Et quibus inmitis placatur sanguine diro 
Teutates horrensque feris altaribus Esus 445 

^ 436-440 are certainly spurious verses ; 430-435 are not 
above suspicion. 


u^"^ '^; 



of the moon? Or does fire-bearing Titan, in order 
to quaft" the waves that feed him, lift up the Ocean 
and draw its billows skyward ? 1 leave the enquiry 
to those who study the workings of the universe : 
for me, let the cause, whatever it be, that produces 
such constant movements, remain, as the gods have 
wished it to remain, for ever hidden. Gone are the 
soldiers who held the region of the Nemes and 
banks of the Atyrus, where the Tarbellians hem in 
the sea that beats lightly against the winding shore. 
The departure of their foe brings joy to the 
Santoni and Bituriges ; to the Suessones, nimble in 
spite of their long spears ; to the Leuci and Remi 
who excel in hurling the javelin, and to the Sequani 
who excel in wheeling their bitted steeds ; to the 
Belgae, skilled in driving the war-chariot invented 
by others, and to the Arvernian clan who falsely 
claim descent from Troy and brotherhood with 
Rome ; to the Nervii, too prone to rebel against 
us and stained by breach of their treaty with 
slaughtered Cotta ; to the Vangiones, who wear 
loose trousers like the Sarmatians, and to the 
fierce Batavians, whose courage is roused by the 
blare of curved bronze trumpets. There is joy 
where the waters of Cinga stray, where the Rhone 
snatches the Arar in swift current and bears it to 
the sea, and where a tribe perches on the mountain 
heiglits and inhabits the snow-covered rocks of the 
Cevennes./ The Treviri too rejoiced that the troops 
were moved ; so did the Ligurians with hair now 
cropped, though once they excelled all the long- 
haired land in the locks that fell in beauty over 
their necks ; and those who propitiate with horrid 
victims ruthless Teutatcs, and Esus whose savage 



Et Taranis Scythicae non mitior ara Dianae. 

Vos quoque, qui fortes aiiimas belloque peremptas 

Laudibus in longum vates dimittitis aevum, 

Pluriiiia securi fudistis carinina, Bardi. 

Et vos barbaricos ritus moremque sinistrum 450 

Sacrorum, Dryadae, positis repetistis ab armis. 

Solis nosse deos et caeli numiiia vobis 

Aut solis nescire datum ; iiemora alta remotis 

Incolitis lueis ; vobis auctoribus umbrae 

Non tacitas Erebi sedes Ditisque profundi 455 

Pallida regna petunt : regit idem spiritus artus 

Orbe alio ; longae, canitis si cognita, vitae 

Mors media est. Certe populi, quos despicit Arctos, 

Felices errore suo, quos ille timorum 

Maximus baud urguet, leti metus. Inde ruendi 460 

In ferrum mens prona viris animaeque capaces 

Mortis, et ignavum rediturae parcere vitae. 

Et vos, crinigeros Belgis ^ arcere Cay cos 

Oppositi, petitis Romam Rhenique feroces 

Deseritis ripas et apertum gentibus orbem. 465 

Caesar, ut inmensae conlecto rebore vires 
Audendi maiora fid em fecere, per omnem 
Spargitur Italiam vicinaque moenia conplet. 
Vana quoque ad veros accessit fama timores 
Inrupitque animos populi clademque futuram 470 

Intulit et velox properantis nuntia belli 
Innumeras solvit falsa in {)raeconia linguas. 

1 Belgis Bcntley : bellis MS8. 

^ The Romans identified Teutates, Esus, and Taranis with 
their own Mars, Mercury, and Jupiter. 

2 Their belief is so unlike tliat of other peoples that, if they 
are right, all others are wrong. 



shrine makes men shudder, and Taranis/ whose altar 
is no more benign than that of Scythian Diana. 
The Bards also, who by the praises of their verse 
transmit to distant ages the fame of heroes slain 
in battle, poured forth at ease their lays in abund- 
ance. And the Druids, laying down their arms, rv^^tJ^ 
went back to the barbarous rites and weird cere- y'^^^^ 
monies of their worship. (To them alone is granted ( 
knowledge — or ignorance, it may be — of gods and 
celestial powers ^ ; tiiey dwell in deep fgf);^ts with 
sequestered groves ; they teach that the soul does 
not descend to the silent land of Erebus and the 
sunless realm of Dis below, but that the same breath 
still governs the limbs in a different scene. If their 
tale be true, death is but a point in the midst of 
continuous life. Truly the nations on whom the 
Pole star looks down are happily deceived ; for they 
are free from that king of terrors, the fear of death. 
This gives the warrior his eagerness to rush upon 
the steel, his courage to face death, and his con- 
viction that it is cowardly to be careful of a life 
that will come back to him again.) The soldiers 
also set to keep the long-haired Cayci away from 
the Belgae, left the savage banks of the Rhine and 
made for Home ; and the empire was left bare to 
foreign nations. 

When Caesar's might was gathered together and 
his huge forces encouraged him to larger enterprise, 
he spread all over Italy and occupied the nearest 
towns. False report, swift harbinger of imminent 
war, was added to reasonable fears, invading men's 
minds with presentiments of disaster, and loosing 
countless tongues to spread lying tales. The 
messengers report that horsemen are charging in 



Est qui, tauriferis ubi se Mevania campis 

Explicat, audaces ruere in certamina turmas 

Adferat, et qua Nar Tiberino inlabitur amni 475 

Barbaricas saevi discurrere Caesaris alas ; 

Ipsum omiies aquilas conlataque signa ferentem 

Agmine non uno densisque incedere castris. 

Nee qualem meminere vident : maiorque ferusque 

Mentibus occurrit victoque inmanior hoste. 480 

Hunc inter Rhenum populos Albimque ^ iacentes, 

Finibus Arctois patriaque a sede revolsos, 

Pone sequi, iussamque feris a gentibus urbem 

Roniano spectante rapi. Sic quisque pavendo 

Dat vires famae, nulloque auctore malorum, 485 

Quae finxere, timent. Nee solum volgus inani 

Percussum terrore pavet ; sed curia et ipsi 

Sedibus exiluere patres, invisaque belli 

ConsulibusTugiens mandat decreta senatus. 

Turn, quae tuta petant et quae metuenda relinquant 490 

Incerti, quo quemque fugae tulit impetus^ urguet 

Praecipitem populum, serieque haerentia longa 

Agmina prorumpunt. Credas aut tecta nefandas 

Corripuisse faces aut iam quatiente ruina 

Nutantes pendere domos : sic turba per urbem 495 

Praecipiti Ijmphata gradu, velut unica rebus 

Spes foret adflictis patrios excedere muros, 

Inconsulta ruit. Qualis, cum turbidus Auster 

Reppulit a Libycis inmensum Syrtibus aequor 

Fractaque veliferi sonuerunt pondera mali, 500 

Desilit in fluctus deserta puppe magister 

» Albimque leverus : Alpemque MSS. 

* I.e. the Germans. 



fierce combat on the wide plains that breed 
Mevania's bulls ; that the foreign cavalry of fierce 
Caesar are riding to and fro where the Nar joins the 
Tiber ; and that their leader, advancing all his 
collected eagles and standards, is marching on with 
many a column and crowded camps. Men's present 
view of him differs from their recollection : they 
think of him as a monster, more savage than the foe 
he has conquered. Men say that the tribes which 
dwell between the Rhine and the Elbe,^ uprooted 
from their northern homes, are following in his rear ; 
and that the word has gone forth that Rome, under 
the eyes of the Romans, shall be sacked by savage 
nations. Thus each by his fears adds strength to 
rumour, and all dread the unconfirmed dangers 
invented by themselves. Nor was the populace alone 
stricken with groundless fear. The Senate House 
was moved; the Fathers themselves sprang up from 
their seats ; and the Senate fled, deputing to the 
consuls the dreaded declaration of war. Then, 
knowing not where to seek refuge or where to 
flee danger, each treads on the heels of the hasten- 
ing population, wherever impetuous flight carries 
him. Forth they rush in long unbroken columns ; 
one might think that impious firebrands had seized 
hold of the houses, or that the buildings were sway- 
ing and tottering in an earthquake shock. For the 
frenzied crowd rushed headlong tlirough the city 
with no fixed purpose, and as if the one chance of 
relief from ruin were to get outside their native 
walls. So, when the stormy South wind has driven 
tiie vast sea from the Syrtes of Libya and the heavy 
mast with its sails has come crashing down, the 
skipper abandons the helm and leaps down with his 



Navitaque, et nondum sparsa conpage carinae 

Naufragium sibi quisque facit ; sic urbe relicta 

In helium fugitur. Nullum iam languidus aevo 

Evaluit revocare parens coniunxve maritum 503 

Fletibus, aut patrii, dubiae dum vota salutis 

Conciperent, tenuere lares : nee limine quisquam 

Haesit, et extreme tunc forsitan urbis amatae 

Plenus abit visa ; ruit inrevocabile volgus. 

O faciles dare summa deos eademque tueri 610 

Difficiles ! Urbem populis victisque frequentem 

Gentibus et generis, coeat si turba, capacem 

Humani facilem venture Caesare praedani 

fgnavae liquere manus. Cum pressus ab lioste 

Clauditur externis miles Homanus in oris, 516 

EfFugit exiguo nocturna pericula vallo, 

Et subitus rapti munimine caes})itis agger 

Praebet secures intra tentoria somnos : 

Tu tantum audito bellorum nomine, Roma, 

Desereris ; nox una tuis non credita muris. 520 

Danda tamen venia est tantorum, danda, pavorum : 

Pompeio fugiente timent. Tum, ne qua tiituri 

Spes saltem trepidas mentes levet, addita fati 

Peioris manifesta fides, superique minaces 

Prodigiis terras inplerunt, aetiiera, pontum. 625 

Ignota obscurae viderunt sidera noctes 

Ardentemque polum flammis caeloque volantes 

Obliquas per inane faces crinemque timendi 

Sideris et terris mutantem regna cometen. 

Fulgura fallaci micuerunt crebra sereno, 530 



crew into the sea, and each man makes shipwreck 
for himself before the planks of the hull are broken 
asunder. Thus Rome is abandoned, and flight is the 
preparation for war. No aged father had the power 
to keep back his son, nor weeping wife her husband ; 
none was detained by the ancestral gods of his 
household, till he could frame a prayer for preserva- 
tion from danger ; none lingered on his threshold 
ere he departed, to satiate his eyes with the sight of 
the city he loved and might never see again. 
Nothing could keep back the wild rush of the 
people. How ready are the gods to grant supremacy 
to men, and how unready to maintain it ! Rome 
that was crowded with citizens and conquered 
peoples, Rome that could contain the human race 
assembled, was left by coward hands an easy prey to 
invading Caesar. When the Ronjan soldier is closely 
besieged by the foenian in a distant land, he defies 
the |)erils of the liight behind a slender palisade ; 
hastily he throws up the sods, and the protection of 
his mound lets him sleep untroubled in his tent. 
But Rome is abandoned as soon as the word "war" 
is heard ; her walls are no safeguard for a single 
night. Yet such panic fear must be forgiven; 
Ponipey in flight gives cause for terror. Then, that 
no hope even for the future might relieve anxiety, 
clear proof was given of worse to come, and the 
menacing gods filled earth, sky, and sea with 
portents. The darkness of night saw stars before 
unknown, the sky blazing with fire, lights shooting 
athwart the void of heaven, and the hair of the 
baleful star — the comet which portends change to 
monarchs. The lightning flashed incessantly in a 
sky of delusive clearness, and the fire, flickering in 



Et varias ignis denso dedit acre formas, 

Nunc iaculum longo, nunc sparso lumine lam pas. 

Emicuit caelo taciturn sine nubibus uUis 

Fulmen et Arctois rapiens de partibus ignem 

Percussit Latiare caput, stellaeque minores 635 

Per vacuum solitae noctis decurrere tempus 

In medium venere diem, cornuque coacto 

lam Phoebe toto fratrem cum redderet orbe, 

Terrarum subita percussa expalluit umbra. 

Ipse caput medio Titan cum ferret Olympo, 540 

Condidit ardentes atra caligine currus 

Involvitque orbem tenebris gentesque coegit 

Desperare diem ; qualem fugiente per ortus 

Sole Thyesteae noctem duxere Mycenae. 

Ora ferox Siculae laxavit Mulciber Aetnae 545 

Nee tulit in caelum flammas, sed vertice prono 

Ignis in Hesperium cecidit latus. Atra Charybdis 

Sanguineum fundo torsit mare. Flebile saevi 

Latravere canes. Vestali raptus ab ara 

Ignis, et ostendens confectas flamma Latinas 550 

Scinditur in partes geminoque cacumine surgit 

Thebanos imitata rogos. Tum cardine tellus 

Subsedit, veteremque iugis nuta'iitibus Alpes 

Discussere nivem. Tetliys maioribus undis 

Hesperiam Calpen summumque inplevit Atlanta. 555 

Indigetes flevisse deos urbisque laborem 

Testatos sudore Lares, delapsaque tempi is 

Dona suis, dirasque diem foedasse volucres 

Accipimus, silvisque feras sub nocte relictis 

Audaces media posuisse cubilia Roma. 560 

^ Alba Loiiga, the ancient centre of the Latin League, is meant. 

2 When the Theban princes, Eteocles and Polynices, were 
burned on the same pyre, the flame parted in two, signifying 
their enmity in their lifetime. 



the heavens, took various shapes in the thick atmo- 
sphere, now flaring far like a javelin, and now like a 
torch with fan-like tail. A thunderbolt, without 
noise or any clouds, gathered fire from the North 
and smote the capital of Latium.^ The lesser stars, 
which are wont to move along the sunless sky by 
night, now became visible at noon. The moon, 
when her horns were united in one and she was 
reflecting her brother luminary with her disk at the 
full, suddenly was smitten by the earth's shadow and 
grew dim. The sun himself, while rearing his head 
in the zenith, hid his burning chariot in black dark- 
ness and veiled his sphere in gloom, forcing mankind 
to despair of daylight; even such a darkness crept 
over Mycenae, the city of Thyestes, when the sun 
fled back to where he rose. In Sicily fierce Mulciber 
opened wide the mouths of Etna ; nor did he lift its 
flames skyward, but the fire bowed its crest and fel 
on the Italian shore. Black Charybdis churned up 
waves of blood from the bottom of the sea, and the 
angry bark of Scylla's dogs sank into a whine. From 
Vesta's altar the fire vanished suddenly; and the 
bonfire which marks the end of the Latin Festival 
split into two and rose, like the pyre of the Thebans,* 
with double crest. The earth also stopped short 
upon its axis, and the Alps dislodged the snow of 
ages from their tottering summits ; and the sea filled 
western Calpe and remotest Atlas with a flood of 
waters. If tales are true, the national deities shed 
tears, the sweating of the household gods bore wit- 
ness to the city's woe, offerings fell from their place 
in the temples, birds of ill omen cast a gloom upon 
the daylight, and wild beasts, leaving the woods by 
night, made bold to place their lairs in the heart of 



1 um pecudum faciles humana ad murmura linguae, 
Monstrosique hominum partus iiumeroque modoque 
Membrorum, matremque suus conterruit infans ; 
Diraque per popiilum Cumanae carmina vatis 
Volgantur. Tum^ quos sectis Bellona lacertis 565 

Saeva movet, cecinere deos, crinemque rotantes 
Sanguineum populis ulularunt tristia Galli. 
Coiij>ositis plenae gemuerunt ossibus urnae. 
Turn fragor armor um magnaeque per avia voces 
Auditae iiemorum et venientes comminus umbrae. 57t 
Quique colunt iunctos extremis moenibus agros, 
Diffugiunt : ingens urbem cingebat Erinys 
Excutieus pronam flagranti vertice pinum 
Stridentesque comas, Thebanam qualis Agaven 
Inpulit aut saevi contorsit tela Lycurgi 51 L 

Eumenis, aut qualem iussu lunonis iniquae 
Horruit Alcides, viso iam Dite, Megaeram. 
Insonuere tubae, et quanto clamore cohortes 
Miscentur, tantum nox atra silentibus auris 
Edidit. E medio visi consurgere Campo 58( 

Tristia Sullani cecinere oracula manes, 
ToUentemque caput gelidas Anienis ad undas 
Agricolae Marium fracto fugere sepulchre. 

Haec propter placuit Tuscos de more vetusto 
Acciri vates. Quorum qui maximus aevo 58i 

Arruns incoluit desertae moenia Lucae, 
Fulminis edoctus motus venasque calentes 
Fibrarum et monitus errantis in acre pinnae, 

* The priests of the Great Mother. 

* She had snakes for hair. 

3 A Thracian king who attacked Dionysus. 



Rome. Also, the tongues of brutes became capable 
of human speech ; and women gave birth to creatures 
monstrous in the size and number of their limbs, and 
mothers were appalled by the babes they bore ; and 
boding prophecies spoken by the Sibyl of Cumae 
passed from mouth to mouth. Again, the worshippers 
who gash their arms, inspired by fierce Bellona 
chanted of heaven's wrath, and the Galli ^ 
whirled round their gory locks and shrieked disaster 
to the nations. Groans came forth from urns filled 
with the ashes of dead men. The crash of arms was 
heard also, and loud cries in pathless forests, and the 
noise of spectral armies closing in battle. From the 
fields nearest the outside walls the inhabitants fled 
in all directions; for the giant figure of a Fury 
stalked round the city, shaking her hissing ^ hair 
and a pine-tree whose flaming crest she held down- 
wards. Such was the Fury that maddened Agave at 
Thebes or launched the bolts of fierce Lycurgus^; 
and such was Megaera, when, as the minister of 
Juno's cruelty, she terrified Hercules, though he had 
seen Hell already. Trumpets sounded ; and dark 
nights, when winds were still, gave forth a shouting 
loud as when armies meet. The ghost of Sulla was 
seen to rise in the centre of the Campus and prophe- 
sied disaster, while Marius burst his sepulchre and 
scattered the country-people in fligJit by rearing his 
head beside the cool waters of the Anio. 

Therefore it was resolved to follow ancient custom 
and summon seers from Etruria. The oldest of these 
was Arruns who dwelt in the deserted city of Luca ; 
the course of the thunderbolt, the marks on entrails 
yet warm, and the warning of each wing that strays 
through the sky, had no secrets for him. First, he 



Monstra iubet primum, quae nullo semine discors 
Protulerat natura, rapi sterilique nefandos 
Ex utero fetus infaustis urere flammis. 
Mox iubet et totam pavidis a civibus urbem 
Ambiri et, festo purgantes moenia lustro, 
Longa per extremes pomeria cingere fines 
Pontifices, sacri quibus est permissa potestas. 
Turba minor ritu sequitur succincta Gabino, 
V^estalemque chorum ducit vittata sacerdos, 
Troianam soli cui fas vidisse Minervam ; 
Tum, qui fata deum secretaque carmina servant 
Et lotam parvo revocant Almone Cybeben, 
Et doctus volucres augur servare sinistras 
Septemvirque epulis festis Titiique sodales 
Et Salius laeto portans aneilia coUo 
Et tollens apicem generoso vertice flamen. 
Dumque illi effusam longis anfractibus urbem 
Circumeunt, Arruns dispersosTuImlhis ignes 
Colligit et terrae maesto cum murmure condit 
Datque locis numen ; sacris tunc admovet aris 
Electa cervice marem. lam fundere Bacchum 
Coeperat obliquoque molas inducere cultro, 
Inpatiensque diu non grati victima sacri, 
Cornua succincti premerent cum torva ministri, 
Deposito victum praebebat poplite collum. 
Nee cruor emicuit solitus, sed volnere largo 
Diffusum rutilo dirum pro sanguine virus. 
Palluit attonitus sacris feralibus Arruns 

^ The offspring of a mule would answer this description. 

* The sacred boundary of the city. 

3 The quiiidemnviri, or College of Fifteen. 



bids the destruction of monsters, which nature, at 
variance with herself, had brought forth from no 
seed, and orders that the abominable fruit of a 
barren womb^ shall be burned with wood of evil 
omen. Next, at his bidding the scared citizens 
march right round the city; and the pontiffs, who 
have licence to perform the ceremony, purify the 
walls with solemn lustration and move round the 
outer limit of the long pomerium.^ Behind them 
come the train of inferior priests, close-girt in Gabine 
fashion. The band of Vestals is led by a priestess 
with a fillet on her brows, to whom alone it is 
permitted to set eyes on Trojan Minerva ; next are 
those ^ who preserve the prophecies of the gods 
and mystic hymns, and who recall Cybele from her 
bath in the little river Almo ; then the Augurs, 
skilled to observe birds flying on the left, the Seven 
who hold festival at banquets, the Titian guild, the 
Salii who bear the Shields in triumph on their 
shoulders, and the Flamen, raising aloft on his high- 
born head the pointed cap. Wliile the long pro- 
cession winds its way round the wide city, Arruns 
collects the scattered fires of the thunderbolt and 
hides them in the earth with doleful muttering. 
He gives sanctity to the spot, and next brings near to 
the holy altar a bull with neck chosen for the sacri- 
fice. When he began to pour wine and to sprinkle 
meal with slanting knife, the victim struggled long 
against the unacceptable sacrifice ; but when the 
high-girt attendants thrust down its formidable 
horns, it sank to the ground and offered its helpless 
neck to the blow. No red blood spouted forth from ' 
the gaping wound, but a slimy liquid, strange and 
dreadful, came out instead. Appalled by the funereal 



Atque iram superum raptis quaesivit in extis. 
Terruit ipse color vatem ; nam pallida taetris 
Viscera tincta notis gelidoque infecta cruore 
Plurimus asperso variabat sanguine liver. 620 

Cernit tabe iecur madidum, venasque minaces 
Hostili de parte videt. Pulmonis anheli 
Fibra latet, parvusque secat vitalia limes. 
Cor iacet, et saniem per hiantes viscera rimas 
Emittunt, produntque suas o menta latebras. 625 

Quodque nefas nullis inpune apparuit extis, 
Ecce,^ videt capiti fibrarum increscere molem 
Alterius capitis. Pars aegra et marcida pendet, 
Pars micat et celeri venas movet inproba pulsu. 
His ubi concepit magnorum fata malorum, 630 

Exclamat : " Vix fas, superi, quaecumque movetis, 
Prodere me populis ; nee enim tibi, summe, litavi, 
luppiter, hoc sacrum, caesique in pectora tauri 
Inferni venere dei. Non fanda timemus ; 
Sed venient maiora metu. Di visa secundent, 635 

Et fibris sit nulla fides ; sed conditor artis 
Finxerit ista Tages." Elex^^sic omina Tuscus 
Involvens multaque tegens arabage canebat. 
At Figulus, cui cura deos secretaque caeli 
Nosse fiiit, quem non stellarum Aegyptia Memphis 
Aequaret visu numerisque sequentibus^ astra, 640 

" Aut hie errat " ait " nulla cum lege per aevum 

^ sequentibus Bentley : moventibus MSS. 

* Nigidius Figulus, a learned Roman, described by Heitland 
as " a living encyclopaedia of errors." 



rite, Arruns turned pale and snatched up the entrails, 
to seek there the anger of the gods. Their very 
colour alarmed him : the sickly organs were marked 
with malignant spots, coloured with congealed gore, 
and chequered all over with dark patches and blood- 
spots. He saw the liver flabby with corruption and 
with boding streaks in its hostile half. The ex- 
tremity of the panting lung is invisible, and a puny 
t~'i membrane divides the vital organs. The heart is 
flattened, the entrails exude corrupted blood through 
gaping cracks, and the caul reveals its hiding-place. 
And lo! he sees a horror which never yet was seen 
in a victim's entrails without mischief following : a 
great second lobe is growing upon the lobe of the 
liver ; one half droops sickly and flabby, while 
the other throbs fast and drives the veins with 
rapid beat. When thus he had grasped the pre- 
diction of great disaster, " Scarce may I," he cried 
aloud, " reveal to men's ears all the ills that the gods 
are preparing. Not with mightiest Jupiter has this 
my sacrifice found favour ; but the infernal gods have 
entered into the body of the slaughtered bull. 
What we fear is unspeakable ; but the sequel will be 
worse tlian our fears. May the gods give a favour- 
able turn to what we have witnessed ! May the 
entrails prove false, and may the lore of our founder 
Tages turn out a mere imposture ! " Thus the 
Tuscan told the future, veiling it in obscurity and 
hiding it with much ambiguity. 
\ Figulus ^ also spoke, Figulus, whose study it was 
' to know the gods and the secrets of the sky, Figulus, 
whom not even Egyptian Memphis could match in 
observation of the heavens and calculations that keep 
pace with the stars. " Either," said he, " this 


VOL. I. n 


Miindus, et incerto discurrunt sidera motu, 

A lit, si fata movent, iirbi generique paratur 

Humano mabura lues . Terraene dehiscent 645 

Subsidentque urbes, an toilet fervidus aer 

Temperiem ? s^g^tes tellus infida negabit ? 

Onmis an effusis miseebitur unda venenis ? 

Quod cladis genus, o superi, qua peste paratis 

Saevitiam ? Extremi multorum tempus in unum 650 

Convenere dies. Summo si frigida caelo 

Stella nocens nigros Saturni accenderet ignes, 

Deucalioneos fudisset Aquarius imbres, 

Totaque diffuso latuisset in aequore tellus. 

Si saevum radiis Nemeaeum, Phoebe, Leonem 656 

Nunc premeres, toto fluerent incendia mundo 

Succensusque tuis flagrasset curribus aether. 

Hi cessant ignes. Tu, qui flagrante minacem 

Scorpion incendis cauda che lasque peruris, 

Quid tantum, Gradive, paras ? nam mitis in alto 660 

luppiter occasu premitur, Venerisque salubre 

Sidus lifibet, motuque celer Cyllenius haeret, 

Et caelum Mars solus habet. Cur signa meatus 

Deseruere suos mundoque obscura feruntur, 

Ensiferi nimium fulget latus Orionis ? 665 

Inminet arniorum rabies, ferrique potestas 

Confundet ius omne manu, scelerique nefando 

Nomen erit virtus, multosque exibit in annos 

Hie furor. Et superos quid prodest poscere finem ? 

Cum domino pax ista venit. Due, Roma, malorum 670 

^ Their horoscopes told him that a great number of men, 
born on different dates, were to die at the same time. 


= • BOOK I 

universe strays for ever governed by no law, and the 
stars move to and fro with course unfixed ; or else, 
if they are guided by destiny, speedy destruction is 
preparing for Rome and for mankind. Will the earth 
gape and cities be swallowed up ? Or will burning 
heat destroy our temperate clime ? Will the soil 
break faith and deny its produce ? Or will water 
everywhere be tainted with streams of poison ? 
What kind of disaster are the gods preparing ? 
What form of ruin will their anger assume? The 
lives ot" multitudes are doomed to end together.^ If 
Saturn, that cold baleful planet, were now kindling 
his black fires in the zenith, then Aquarius would 
have poured down such rains as Deucalion saw, and 
the whole earth would have been hidden under the 
waste of waters. Or if the sun's rays were now 
passing over the fierce Lion of Nemea, then fire 
would stream over all the world, and the upper air 
would be kindled and consumed by the sun's chariot. 
Tliese heavenly bodies are not active now. But 
Mars — what dreadful purpose has he, when he 
kindles the Scorpion menacing with fiery tail and 
scorches its claws ? For the benign star of Jupiter 
is hidden deep in the West, the healthful planet 
Venus is dim, and Mercury's swift motion is stayed ; 
Mars alone lords it in heaven. Why have the con- 
stellations fled from their courses, to move darkling 
through the sky, while the side of sword-girt Orion 
shines all too bri*:;ht ? The madness of war is upon 
us, when the power of the sword shall violently 
upset all legality, and atrocious crime shall be called 
heroism. This frenzy will last for many years ; and 
it is useless to pray Heaven that it may end : when 
peace comes, a tyrant will come with it. Let Rome 



Continuam seriem clademque in tempora multa 
Extrahe, civili tantum iam libera bello." 

Terruerant satis haec pavidam praesagia plebem ; 
Sed maiora premunt. Nam qualis vertice Pindi 
Edonis Ogygio decurrit plena Lyaeo, 675 

Talis et attonitam rapitur niatrona per urbem 
Vocibus his prodens iirguentem pectora Phoebum : 
" Quo feror^ o Paean ? qua me super aetliera raptam 
Constituis terra ? video Pangaea nivosis 
Cana iiigis latosque Haemi sub rupe Pliilippos. 680 

Quis furor hie, o Phoebe, doce, quo tela manusque 
Romanae miscent acies, bellumque sine hoste est? 
Quo diversa feror ? primos me ducis in ortus, 
Qua mare Lagei mutatur gurgite Nili : 
Hunc ego, fluminea deformis truncus harena 685 

Qui iacet, agnosco. Dubiam super aequora Syrtim 
Arentemque feror Libyen, quo tristis Enyo 
Transtulit Emathias acies. Nunc desuper Alpis 
Nubiferae colles atque aeriam Pyrenen 
Abripimur. Patriae sedes remeamus in urbis, 690 

Inpiaque in medio peraguntur bella senatu. 
Consurgunt partes iterum, totumque per orbem 
Rursus eo. Nova da mihi cernere litora ponti 
Telluremque novam ; vidi iam, Phoebe, Philippos." 
Haec ait, et lasso iacuit deserta furore. 695 

* She means Pharsalia ; but it is a convention with the 
Roman poets, from Virgil onwards, to speak of Pharsalia and 
riiilippi as fought on the same ground : see 1. 694. 

2 Pompey. 

^ She has a vision of: (1) Pharsalia, fought in 48 B.C. ; 
(2) Thapsus (46) ; (3) Munda (45) ; (4) the murder of Caesar 



prolong the unbroken series of suffering and draw 
out her agony for ages : only while civil war lasts, 
shall she henceforth be free." 

These forebodings were enough to alarm and 
terrify the populace ; but worse was close at hand . 
For, as a Bacchanal, filled with Theban Lyaeus, 
speeds down from the summit of Pindus, in such 
guise a matron rushed through the appalled city, 
revealing by these cries the pressure of Phoebus 
upon her bosom : " Whither am I borne, O Paean, in 
haste across the sky ? In what land do you set my 
feet ? I see Pangaeus white with snow-clad ridges, 
I see Philippi ^ spread out beneath the crag of 
Haemus : say, Plioebus, what madness is this that 
drives Romans to fight Romans; what war is this 
without a foe ? Whither next am I borne to a 
different quarter? You take me to the far East, 
where the waters of Egyptian Nile stain the sea : 
him 2 I recognise, that headless corpse lying on the 
river sands. The grim goddess of war has shifted 
the ranks of Pharsalia across the sea to treacherous 
Syrtis and parched Libya : thither also am I carried. 
Next I am spirited away over the cloud-capped Alps 
and soaring Pyrenees. Back I return to my native 
city, where the civil war finds its end in the very 
Senate House. Again the factions raise their heads ; 
again I make the circuit of the earth. Grant me, 
Phoebus, to behold a different shore and a different 
land : Philippi I have seen already." ^ So she spoke 
and fell down, abandoned by the frenzy that now was 

(44) ; (5) the later civil war, including the battle of 
Philippi (42). " Philippi " again means Pharsalia. 




Iamque irae patuere deum, manifestaque belli 

Signa dedit mundus^ legesque et foedera rerum 

Praescia monstrifero vertit natura tumultu 

Indixitque nefas. Cur banc tibi, rector Olympi, 

Solliqitis visum mortalibus addere curam, 5 

Noscant venturas ut dira per omina clades? 

Sive parens rerum, cum primum informia regna 

Materiamque rudem flanima cedente recepit, 

Fixit in aeternum causas, qua cuncta coercet 

Se quoque lege tenens, et saecula iussa ferenteni 10 

Fatorum inmoto divisit limite mundum ; 

Sive nihil positum est sed fors incerta vagatur 

P'ertque refertque vices, et habet mortalia casus : 

Sit subitum, quodcumque paras ; sit caeca futuri 

Mens hominum fati ; liceat sperare timenti. 15 

Ergo, ubi concipiunt, quantis sit cladibus orbi 
Constatura fides superum, ferale per urbem 
lustitium; latuit plebeio tectus amictu 
Omnis honos, nullos comitata est purpura fasces. 
Tum questus tenuere sues, magnusque per omnes 20 
Erravit sine voce dolor. Sic funere primo 

1 According to the Stoics fire was the primal element. 

2 The gods were truthful, because the portents they sent 
were followed by disaster. 



And now heaven's wrath was revealed ; the uni- 
verse gave clear signs of battle ; and Nature, 
conscious of the future, reversed the laws and 
ordinances of life, and, while the hurly-burly bred 
monsters, proclaimed civil war. Why didst thou. 
Ruler of Olympus, see fit to lay on suffering mortals 
this additional burden, that they should learn the 
approach of calamity by awful portents ? Whether 
the author of the universe, when the fire ^ gave place 
and he first took in hand the shapeless realm of 
raw matter, established the chain of causes for all 
eternity, and bound himself as well by universal 
law, and portioned out the universe, which endures 
the ages prescribed for it, by a fixed line of destiny; 
or whether nothing is ordained and Fortune, moving 
at random, brings round the cycle of events, and 
cimnce is master of mankind — in either case, let 
thy purpose, whatever it be, be sudden ; let the 
mind of man be blind to coming doom ; he fears, 
but leave him hope. 

Therefore, when men perceived the mighty 
disasters which the truthfulness of the gods ^ would 
cost the world, business ceased and gloom prevailed 
throughout Rome ; the magistrates disguised them- 
selves in the dress of the people; no purple accom- 
panied the lictors' rods. Moreover, men restrained 
their lamentations, and a deep dumb grief pervaded 
the people. (So, at the moment of death a household 



Attonitae tacuere domus, cum corpora nondum 

Conclamata iacent, nee mater crine solute 

Exigit ad saevos famularum bracchia planctus, 

Sed cum membra premit fugiente rigentia vita 26 

Voltusque exanimes oculosque in morte minaces ; 

Necdum est ille dolor, nee iam metus : incubat amens 

Miraturque malum. Cultus matrona priores 

Deposuit, maestaeque tenent delubra catervae. 

Hae lacrimis sparsere deos, hae pectora duro. 30 

Adflixere solo, lacerasque in limine sacro 

Attonitae fudere comas votisque vocari 

Adsuetas crebris feriunt ululatibus aures. 

Nee cunetae summi templo iaeuere Tonantis : 

Divisere deos, et nullis defuit aris 35 

Invidiam factura parens. Quarum una madentes 

Scissa genas, planetu liventes atra lacertos : 

" Nunc " ait '' o miserae contundite pectora matres, 

Nunc laniate comas neve hunc differte dolorem 

Et summis servate mails. Nunc flere potestas, 40 

Dum pendet fortuna ducum ; cum vicerit alter, 

Gaudendum est." His se stimulis dolor ipse laeessit. 

Nee non bella viri diversaque castra petentes 

Effundunt iustas in numina saeva querellas. 

" O miserae sortis, quod non in Punica nati 46 < 

Tempora Cannarum fuimus Trebiaeque iuventus ! 

Non paeem petimus, superi : date gentibus iras, 



is stunned and speechless^ before the body is lamented 
and laid out, and before the mother with dishevelled 
hair summons her maidens to beat their breasts 
with cruel arms : she still embraces the limbs stiff 
with the departure of life, and the inanimate 
features, with eyes fierce in death. Fear she feels 
no longer, but grief not yet : incapable of thought 
she hangs over her son and marvels at her loss.) 
The matrons put off their former garb and occupied 
the temples in mournful companies. Some sprinkled 
the images with their tears; others dashed their 
breasts against the hard floor ; in their frenzy they 
shed their torn locks over the consecrated threshold 
and struck with repeated shrieks the ears accus- 
tomed to be addressed with prayer. Nor did they 
all prostrate themselves in the temple of the 
supreme Thunderer : they parted the gods among 
them, and no altar lacked a mother to call down 
shame upon it. One of them, whose cheeks were 
wet and torn, and her shoulders black and dis- 
coloured by blows, spoke thus: '^ Now, wretched 
mothers, now is the time to beat your breasts and 
tear your hair. Do not delay your grief, nor keep 
it for the crowning sorrows. 5s^ow we have power 
to weep, while the destiny of the rival leaders is 
undecided ; but, when either is victorious, we must 
perforce rejoice" Thus grief works itself up and 
fans its own Hame. — The men also, setting out for 
the war and for the camps of the rivals, poured 
out just complaints against the cruel gods : ''Wretched 
is our lot, that we were not born into the age of the 
Punic wars, that we were not the men who fought 
at Cannae and the Trebia. We do not pray the 
gods for peace : let tiiem put rage into foreign 



Nunc urbes excite feras ; coniuret in arma 
Mundus^ Achaemeniis decurrant Medica Susis 
Agmina, Massageten Scythicus non adliget Hister, 
Fundat ab extremo flavos aquilone Suebos 61 

Albis et indomitum Rheni caput ; omnibus hostes 
Reddite nos populis : civile avertite bellum. 
Hinc Dacus, premat inde Getes ; occurrat Hiberis 
Alter^ ad Eoas hie vertat signa pharetras ; 65 

Nulla vacet tibi, Roma, manus. Vel, perdere nomen 
Si placet Hesperium, superi^ conlatus in ignes 
Plurimus ad terram per fulmina decidat aether, 
Saeve parens, utrasque simul partesque ducesque, 
Dum nondum meruere, feri. Tantone novorum 60 

Proventu scelerum quaerunt, uter imperet urbi ? 
Vix tanti fuerat civilia bella movere, 
Ut neuter." Tales pietas peritura querellas 
Egerit. At miseros angit sua cura parentes, 
Oderuntque gravis vivacia fata senectae 65 

Servatosque iterum bellis civilibus annos. 
Atque aliquis magno quaerens exempla timori 
" Non alios " inquit " motus tunc fata parabant. 
Cum post Teutonicos victor Libycosque triumphos 
Exul limosa Marius caput abdidit ulva. 70 

Stagna avidi texere soli laxaeque paludes 
Depositum, Fortuna, tuum ; mox vincula ferri 

^ Caesar. ^ Pompey. 

3 " 'J'he failure of both " = freedom. 

* Jiigurtha, King of Numidia. ^ At Minturnae. 



nations and rouse up at once barbarian countries. 
Let the whole world band itself together for war; 
let armies of Medes swoop down from Persian 
Susa ; let the northern Danube fail to bar the 
Massagetae; let the Elbe and the unconquered 
mouth of the Rhine send out swarms of fair-haired 
Suebians from the uttermost North ; make us foes 
to every nation — but let civil war pass from us I 
Let the Dacians attack us on one side, the Getae on 
the other; let one of the rivals^ confront the 
Spaniards, and the other ^ turn his standards against 
the quivers of the "East ; let every Roman hand 
grasp a sword. Or, if it be heaven's purpose to 
destroy the Roman race, let the mighty firmament 
gather itself in flame and fall down on earth in 
the shape of thunderbolts. O ruthless Author of 
the universe, strike both parties and both rivals 
at once with the same bolt, while they are still 
innocent! Must they ])roduce such a monstrous 
cro}) of crime, in order to settle which of the two 
shall be master of Rome ? Civil war were a price 
almost too high to pay for the failure of both." ^ 
Such were the complaints poured forth by patriotism 
that was soon to pass away. Unhappy parents too 
were tortured by a sorrow of their own : they curse 
the prolongation of grievous old age, and lament 
that they have lived to see a second civil war. 
And tims spoke one of them who sought precedents 
for his great fear: " As great were the disturbances 
prepared by Fate, when victorious Marius, who had 
trium})hed over the Teutones and the African,* was 
driven out to hide his head in the miry sedge. ^ 
Engulfing quicksands and spongy marshes hid the 
secret that Fortune had placed there ; and later 



Exedere senem longusque in carcere paedor. 

Consul et eversa felix moriturus in urbe 

Poenas ante dabat scelerum. Mors ipsa refugit 75 

Saepe virum^ frustraque liosti concessa potestas 

Sanguinis invisi, primo qui caedis in actu 

Deriguit ferrumque manu torpente remisit. 

Viderat inmensam tenebroso in carcere lucem 

Terribilesque deos scelerum Mariumque futurum, 80 

Audieratque pavens : ' Fas haec contingere non est 

CoUa tibi ; debet multas hie legibus aevi 

Ante suam mortes ; vanum depone furorem.' 

Si libet ulcisci deletae funera gentis, 

Hunc, Cimbri, servate senem. Non ille favore 85 

Numinis, ingenti superum protectus ab ira, 

Vir ferus et Romam cupienti perdere fate 

Surticiens. Idem pelago delatus iniquo 

Hostilem in terram vacuisque mapalibus actus 

Nuda triumphati iacuit per regna lugurthae 90 

Et Poenos pressit cineres. Solacia fati 

Carthago Mariusque tuUt, pariterque iacentes 

Ignovere deis. Libycas ibi colligit iras. 

Ut primum fortuna redit, servilia solvit 

Agniina, conflato saevas ergastula ferro 95 

Exeruere manus. Nulli gestanda dabantur 

Signa ducis, nisi qui scelerum iam fecerat usum 

^ The lictor in the dungeon was a Cimbrian. 

* Africa. ' I.e. each from the other's plight. 



the old man's flesh was corroded by iron fetters 
and the squalor of long captivity. He was yet 
to die as Fortune's favourite, as consul in Rome 
which he had ruined ; but first he suffered for 
his guilt. Death itself often fled from him. When 
power to take his hated life was granted to a 
foeman, naught came of it ; for, in beginning the 
deed of slaughter, the man was palsied and let 
the sword slip AOm his strengthless hand. A great 
light shone in the prison darkness; he saw the 
awful deities that wait on crime, and he saw 
Marius as he was yet to be ; and he heard a 
dreadful voice — ' You are not permitted to touch 
that neck. Before he dies himself, Marius must, 
by the laws that govern the ages, bring death to 
many. Lay aside your useless rage.' If the Cimbri ^ 
wish to avenge the extinction of their slaughtered 
^1 race, they should let the old man live. No divine 
favour, but the exceeding wrath of heaven, has 
guarded the life of that man of blood, in whom 
Fortune finds a perfect instrument for the destruction 
of Rome. — Next he was conveyed over an angry sea 
to a hostile soil,^ where he was chased through 
deserted villages ; he couched down in the devas- 
tated realmof Jugurtha who had graced his triumph, 
and the ashes of Carthage were his bed. Carthage 
and Marius both drew consolation for their destiny ^ ; 
both alike prostrate, they pardoned Heaven. In 
Africa he nursed a hate like Hannibal's. As soon 
as Fortune smiled again, he set free bands of slaves ; 
the prisoners melted down their fetters and stretched 
forth their hands for slaughter. He suffered none 
to bear his standards, except men already inured 
to crime, men who brought guilt with them to the 



Adtuleratque in castra nefas. Pro fata ! quis ille, 

Quis fuit ille dies, Marius quo moenia victor 

Corripuit, quantoque gradu mors saeva cucurrit ! 100 

Nobilitas cum plebe parity lateque vagatus 

Ensis, et a nullo revocatum pectore ferrum. 

Stat cruor in templis, multaque rubentia caede 

Lubrica saxa madent. Nulli sua profuit aetas : 

Non seiiis extremum piguit vergentibus annis 105 

Praecepisse diem, nee primo in limi.^^ vitae 

Infantis miseri nascentia rumpere fata. 

Crimine quo parvi caedem potuere mereri ? 

Sed satis est iam posse mori. Trahit ipse furoris 

Impetus, et visum lenti, quaesisse nocentem. 110 

In numerum pars magna perit, rapuitque cruentus 

Victor ab ignota voltus cervice recisos, 

Dum vacua pudet ire manu. Spes una salutis 

Oscula pollutae fixisse trementia dextrae. 

Mille licet gladii mortis nova signa sequantur, 115 

Degener o populus, vix saecula longa decorum 

Sic meruisse viris, nedum breve dedecus aevi 

Et vitam dum Sulla redit. Cui funera volgi 

Flere vacet ? vix te sparsum per viscera, Baebi, 

Innumeras inter carpentis membra coronae 120 

Discessisse manus ; aut te, praesage malorum 

Antoni, cuius laceris pendentia canis 

Ora ferens miles festae rorantia mensae 

Inposuit. Truncos laceravit Fimbria Crassos ; 

Saeva tribunicio maduerunt robora tabo. 125 

^ The hand of Marina. 

2 The poles on which the heads of the tribunes were carried 
seem to be meant. 



camp. Shame upon Fate ! How dread that day, 
the day when victorious Marius seized the city ! 
With what mighty strides cruel death stalked 
abroad ! High and low were slain alike ; the sword 
strayed far and wide ; and no breast was spared 
the steel. Pools of blood stood in the temples ; 
constant carnage wetted the red and slippery 
pavement. None was protected by his age : the 
slayer did not scruple to anticipate the last day 
of declining age^ or to cut short the early prime of 
a hapless infant in the dawn of life. How was it 
possible that children should deserve death for any 
crime ? But it was enough to have already a life 
to lose. The violence of frenzy was itself an in- 
centive ; and it was deemed the part of a laggard 
to look for guilt in a victim. Many were slain 
merely to make up a number; and the bloodstained 
conqueror seized a head cut off from a stranger's 
shoulders, because he was ashamed to walk with 
empty hands. Those alone were spared who pressed 
their trembling lips on that polluted hand.^ How 
degenerate a people ! Though a thousand swords 
obey this new signal of death, it scarce would befit 
brave men to buy centuries of life so dear, far less 
the short and shameful respite — till Sulla returns. 
None could find time to lament the deaths of the 
multitude, and hardly to tell how Baebius was torn 
asunder and scattered piecemeal by the countless 
hands of the mob that divided limb from limb; 
or how the head of Antonius, prophet of evil, was 
swung by the torn white hair and placed dripping 
by a soldier upon the festal board. The Crassi 
were mutilated and mangled by Fimbria ; and the 
blood of tribunes wetted the cruel wood.^ Scaevola 



Te quoque neglectum violatae, Scaevola, Vestae 

Ante ipsum penetrale deae semperque calentes 

Mactavere focos ; parvum sed fessa senectus 

Sanguinis effudit iugulo flammisque pepercit. 

Septimus haec sequitur repetitis fascibus annus. 130 

Hie fuit vitae Mario modus, omnia passo 

Quae peior fortuna potest, atque omnibus use 

Quae melior, mensoque hominis quid fata paterent. 

lam quot apud Sacri cecidere cadavera Portum, 

Aut Collina tulit stratas quot porta catervas, 135 

Tum cum paene caput mundi rerumque potestas 

Mutavit translata locum, Romanaque Samnis 

Ultra Caudinas speravit volnera Furcas. 

Sulla quoque inmensis accessit cladibus ultor. 

Ille quod exiguum restabat sanguinis urbi 140 

Hausit ; dumque nimis iam putria membra recidit, 

Excessit medicina modum, nimiumque secuta est. 

Qua morbi duxere, manus. Periere nocentes, 

Sed cum iam soli possent superesse nocentes. 

Tunc data libertas odiis, resolutaque legum 145 

Frenis ira ruit. Non uni cuncta dabantur, 

Sed fecit sibi quisque nefas ; semel omnia victor 

lusserat. Infandum domini per viscera ferrum 

Exegit famulus ; nati maduere paterno 

Sanguine ; certatum est, cui cervix caesa parentis 150 

' The Samnite general, Telesinus, had threatened to raze 
Rome to the ground, and make another city the capital of 



too found no protection from outraged Vesta : they 
sacrificed the old man before the very shrine 
and ever-burning hearth of the goddess, but the 
scanty stream of blood that issued from his aged 
throat suffered the fire to burn on. These things 
were followed by the seventh year in which Marius 
resumed the rods of office. And that was the end 
of his life : he had suffered every blow that evil 
fortune can inflict, and enjoyed every gift that 
good fortune can bestow ; he had measured the full 
extent of human destiny. — Again, how many corpses 
fell at Sacriportus ! What heaps of slain encumbered 
the Colline Gate on that day when the capital of 
the world and the government of mankind was 
nearly transferred to a different seat,^ and the 
Samnites hoped to inflict on Rome a heavier blow 
than the Caudine Forks ! And then, to crown the 
infinite slaughter, came Sulla's vengeance. What 
little blood was left at Rome he shed; and while he 
lopped off too fiercely the limbs that were corrupt, 
his surgery went beyond all bounds, and his knife 
followed too far on the path whither disease invited 
it. The men slain were guilty, but it was a time 
when there were none but guilty to survive. Licence 
was granted then to private hatred ; and anger, 
freed from the curb of law, rushed headlong on. 
The deeds done were not all done for the sake 
of one man ; but each committed outrage to please 
himself. The conqueror had once for all issued his 
orders which included every crime. The servant 
drove the accursed sword to the hilt through his 
master's body ; sons were sprinkled with their 
father's blood and strove with each other for the 
privilege of beheading a parent; and brother slew 



Cederet ; in fratrum ceciderunt praemia fratres. 

Busta repleta fuga, permixtaque viva sepultis 

Corpora, nee populum latebrae cepere ferarum. 

Hie laqueo fauees elisaque guttura fregit. 

Hie se praecipiti iaculatus pondere dura 155 

Dissiluit percussus humo, mortesque cruento 

Victori rapuere suas ; hie robora busti 

Exstruit ipse sui necdum omni sanguine fuse 

Desilitin flammas at, dum lieet, occupat ignes. 

Colla ducum pilo trepidam gestata per urbem ICO 

Et medio congesta foro; cognoscitur illie, 

Quidquid ubique iaeet. Scelerum non Thracia tantum 

Vidit Bistonii stabulis pendere tyranni, 

Postibus Antaei Libya, nee Graecia maerens 

Tot laceros artus Pisaea flevit in aula. 165 

Cum iam tabe fluunt confusaque tempore multo 

Amisere notas, miserorum dextra parentum 

Colligit et pavido sul)dueit eognita furto. 

Meque ipsum memini eaesi deformia fratris 

Ora rogo cupidum vetitisque inponere flammis 170 

Omnia Sullanae lustrasse cadavera paeis, 

Perque omnes truncos, eum qua eervice recisum 

Conveniat, quaesisse, caput. Quid sanguine manes 

Placatos Catuli referam ? eum victima tristes 

Inferias Marius forsan nolentibus umbris 175 

Pendit inexpleto non fanda piaeula busto, 

Cum laeeros artus aequataque volnera membris 

Vidimus, et toto quamvis in eorpore eaeso 


1 Diomedes, a mythical king, killed by Hercules. For 
Antaeus, see iv. 593 foil. The "court-yard of Pisa" refers to 
Oenomaus, who killed his daughter's suitors. 

2 M. Marius Gratidianus, who was only by adoption a 
member of the Marian family. 

-y BOOK ir 

brother to earn rewards. The tombs were filled 
with fugitives, and the bodies of the living consorted 
with buried corpses ; and the lairs of wild beasts 
were crowded with men. One man tied a noose 
round his throat and broke his neck ; another hurled 
himself down headlong and was dashed to pieces 
asfainst the hard ground ; and thus they robbed the 
bloodstained conqueror of their deaths. Another 
piled up wood for his own pyre, and then, before all 
his blood had run out, sprang down into the flame 
and made haste to burn himself before he was 
prevented. The heads of the chief men were borne 
on pikes through the terrified city and piled in the 
centre of the forum ; the victims slaughtered in all 
places were displayed there. Thrace never saw so 
many murdered corpses in the stables of the Bistonian 
king,^ nor Africa at the doors of Antaeus ; nor did 
mourning Greece lament so many mutilated bodies 
in the courtyard of Pisa. When the heads, dis- 
solving in corruption and effaced by lapse of time, 
had lost all distinctive features, their wretched 
parents gathered the relics they recognised and 
stealthily removed them. I remember how I my- 
self, seeking to place on the funeral fire denied 
them the shapeless features of my murdered brother, 
scrutinised all the corpses slain by Sulla's peace : 
round all the headless bodies I went, seeking for 
a neck to fit the severed head. Why tell of the 
bloody atonement made to the ghost of Catulus ? 
A Marius ^ was the victim who paid that terrible 
offering, perhaps distasteful to the dead himself, 
that unspeakable sacrifice to the insatiate tomb. 
We saw his mangled frame with a wound for every 
limb ; we saw every part of the body mutilated 



Nil animae letale datum moremque nefandae 

Dirum saevitiae, pereuntis parcere raorti. 180 

Avolsae cecidere manus, exsectaque lingua 

Palpitat et muto vacuum ferit aera motu. 

Hie aures, alius spiramina naris aduncae 

Amputat ; ille cavis evolvit sedibus orbes, 

Ultimaque etfodit spectatis lumina membris. T86 

Vix erit uUa fides tain saevi criminis, unum 

Tot poenas cepisse caput. Sic mole ruinae 

Fracta sub ingenti miscentur pondere membra. 

Nee magis informes veniunt ad litora trunci. 

Qui medio periere freto. Quid perdere fructura 190 

luvit et, ut vilem, Marii confundere voltum ? 

Ut seel us hoc Sullae caedesque ostensa placeret, 

Agnoscendus erat. Vidit Fortuna colonos 

Praenestina suos cunctos simul ense recepto 

Unius populum pereuntem tempore mortis. 196 

Tum flos Hesperiae, Latii iam sola iuventus, 

Concidit et miserae maculavit Ovilia Romae. 

Tot simul infesto iuvenes occumbere leto 

Saepe fames pelagique furor subitaeque ruinae 

Aut terrae caelique lues aut bellica clades, 200 

Numquam poena fuit. Densi vix agmina volgi 

Inter et exsangues inmissa morte catervas 

Victores movere manus ; vix caede peracta 

Procumbunt, dubiaque labant cervice ; sed illos 

^ The worsliip of Fortuna was of great importance at 

^ An enclosed space in the Campus Martius where polling 
took place. See u, to vii, 306, 




and yet no death-stroke dealt to the life ; we saw 
the terrible form taken by savage cruelty, of not 
suffering the dying to die. The arms, wrenched 
from the shoulders, fell to the ground ; the tongue, 
cut out, quivered and beat the empty air with 
dumb motion ; one man cut off the ears, another 
the nostrils of the curved nose ; a third pushed 
the eye-balls from their hollow sockets and scooped 
the eyes out last of all when they had witnessed 
the fate of the limbs. Few will believe such an 
atrocity, or that a single frame could be large enough 
for so many tortures. Such are men's limbs when 
broken and pounded under the huge weight of a 
fallen building ; and the dead, who have perished 
in mid-ocean and drifted to the shore, are not more 
disfigured. What made them waste their advantage 
and obliterate the features of Marius, as if they 
were of no account ? They ought to have been 
recognisable ; then the crime would find favour 
with Sulla and the murder would be proved. . The 
Fortune of Praeneste ^ saw all her citizens put to 
the sword together, and her population slain In 
the time it takes one man to die. The flower of 
Italy also, the only Roman soldiers left, were 
slaughtered and stained with their blood the 
Sheepfold ^ of Rome. The violent death of so many 
strong men at once has often been caused by famine, 
or stormy sea, or sudden crash of buildings, or 
plague of earth and sky, or havoc of war, but never 
before by execution. So thick was the crowd of 
men, of faces that grew pale when death was let 
loose upon them, that the conquerors could scarce 
ply their weapons : even when the slaughter was 
done, the dead could scarce fall down but swayed with 



Magna premit strages, peraguntque cadavera partem 

Caedis : viva graves elidunt corpora trunci. 206 

Intrepidus tanti sedit securus ab alto 

Spectator sceleris ; miseri tot milia volgi 

Non timuit iussisse mori. Congesta recepit 

Omnia Tjirhenus Sullana cadavera gurges ; 210 

In fluvium primi cecidere^ in corpora summi. 

Praecipites haesere rates, et strage cruenta 

Interruptiis aquae fluxit prior amnis in aequor, 

Ad molem stetit unda sequens. lam sanguinis alti 

Vis sibi fecit iter, campumque effusa per omneia 215 

Praecipitique ruens Tiberina in flumina rivo 

Haerentes adiuvit aquas ; nee iam alveus amnem 

Nee retinent ripae, redditque cadavera campo. 

Tandem Tyrrhenas vix eluctatus in undas 

Sanguine caeruleum torrenti dividit aequor. 22C 

Plisne salus rerum, felix his Sulla vocari. 

His meruit tumulum medio sibi tollere Campo? 

Haec rursus patienda manent, hoc ordine belli 

Ibitur, hie stabit civilibus exitus armis. 

Quamquam agitant graviora metus, multumque coitur 

Humani generis maiore in proelia dam no. 226 

Exulibus Mariis bellorum maxima merces 

Roma recepta fuit, nee plus victoria Sullae 

P^-aestitit iijyisas penitus quam tollere partes : 

.•tol iHH (lh>^h 

^p.„V The Tiber. 
. * Sulla added the surname Felix to his original name. 



drooping necks ; and the survivors were wefj^hed 
down by the heaps of corpses ; for tlie dead took 
their share in dealing death, and the living were 
crushed by the weight of the slain. Without a 
qualm Sulla sat at ease to witness the awful deed 
from his lofty seat ; he feared . not to pass sentence 
of death on so many thousands of undistinguished 
wretches. The bodies of Sulla's victims were all 
piled up and thrown into the Etruscan river ; ^ the 
first of them fell upon the water, the last upon other 
carcasses. Ships going down the stream stuck fast; 
the front part of the river was cut off by the heaps 
of dead and so flowed down to the sea, while the 
part behind was blocked at the barrier. But soon 
the river of blood made a way for itself: it flooded 
all the plain ; it rushed in rapid channel to the 
Tiber and swelled the impeded current, till its bed 
and banks could not contain the stream ; and the 
river brought the corpses back to land, and at last 
forced its way with difficulty to the Tyrrhene sea, 
where it parted the blue expanse with a torrent 
of blood. Were these the deeds that entitled Sulla 
to be called the saviour of his country and the 
favourite of Fortune,^ and to rear himself a tomb 
in the centre of the Campus ? Those same woes 
we must endure again ; through that sequence of 
warfare we must pass ; such is the issue appointed 
to every civil war. And yet our fears forebode still 
worse, and much greater damage to mankind will 
come of this conflict in arms. To Marius and his 
exiles the recovery of Rome was the great prize 
- they fought for, and to Sulla victory brought no 
tg, more than the extermination of the party he hated ; 
but the rivals of to-day have long been supreme, 



Hos alio, Fortuna, vocas, olimque potentes 230 

Concurrunt. Neuter civilia bella moveret, 
Contentus quo Sulla fuit." Sic maesta seneotiis 
Praeteritique memor flebat metuensque futuri. 

At non magnanimi percussit pectora Bruti 
Terror, et in tanta pavidi formidine motus 235 

Pars populi lugentis erat ; sed nocte sopora, 
Parrhasis obliquos Helice cum verteret axes, 
Atria cognati pulsat non ampla Catonis. 
Invenit insomni volventem publica cura 
Fata virum casusque urbis cunctisque timentem 240 
Securumque sui, farique his vocibus orsus : 
"Omnibus expulsae terris olimque fugatae 
Virtutis iam sola fides, quam turbine nullo 
Excutiet fortuna tibi, tu mente labantem 
Derige me, dubium certo tu robore jfirma. 245 

Namque alii Magnum vel Caesaris arma sequantur : 
Dux Bruto Cato solus erit. Pacemne tueris 
Inconcussa tenens dubio vestigia mundo ? 
An placuit ducibus scelerum populique furentis 
Cladibus inmixtum civile absolvere bellum ? 250 

Quemque suae rapiunt scelerata in proelia causae : 
Hos polluta donius legesque in pace timendae, 
Hos ferro fugienda fames mundique ruinae 
Permiscenda fides. Nullum furor egit in arma : 
Castra petunt magna victi mercede ; tibi uni 265 

Per se bella placent ? quid tot durare per annos 

^ Helice, or Callisto, is a common name in the poets for the 
Great Bear. 



and they are summoned by destiny to a different 
goal. If either were content with what satisfied 
Sulla, he would not stir up civil war." Such were 
the laments of sorrowing elders, as they recalled the 
past and dreaded the future. 

But the heart of noble Brutus was shaken by no 
fear, and amid that mighty dread of awful change he 
was not one of the mourning populace. In the 
slumbrous night, when Arcadian Helice ^ was turning 
her wain aslant, he knocked at the humble dwelling 
of his kinsman, Cato. He found the great man 
pondering in sleepless anxiety over the destiny of 
the nation and the plight of Rome, careless of his 
own safety but fearful for mankind ; and thus he 
addressed him : " Virtue, long ago driven out and 
banished from every land, finds in you her one 
remaining support, and will never be dislodged from 
your breast by any turn of fortune ; do you there- 
fore guide my hesitation and fortify my weakness 
with your unerring strength. Let others follow 
Magnus or Caesar's arms — Brutus will own no leader 
but Cato. Are you the champion of peace, keeping 
your path unshaken amid a tottering world ? Or 
have you resolved to stand with the arch-criminals 
and take your share in the disasters of a mad world, 
and so clear the civil war of guilt ? Each man is 
carried away to wicked warfare by motives of his 
own — some by crimes of private life and fear of the 
laws if peace be kept ; others by the need to drive 
away hunger by the sword and to bury bankruptcy 
under the destruction of the world. None has been 
driven to arms by mere impulse : they have been 
bought by a great bribe to follow the camp ; do you 
alone choose war for its own sake ? What good was 



Profuit inmunem corrupt! moribus aevi ? 

Hoc solum longae pretium virtutis habebis : 

Accipient alios, facient te bella nocentem. 

Ne tantum, o superi, liceat feralibus armis, 260 

Has etiam movisse manus. Nee pila lacertis 

Missa tuis caeca telorum in nube ferentur : 

Ne tanta incassum virtus eat, ingeret omnis 

Se belli fortuiia tibi. Quis nolet in isto 

Ense mori, quamvis alieno volnere labens, 265 

Et scelus esse tuum ? Melius tranquilla sine armis 

Otia solus ages ; sicut caelestia semper 

Inconcussa suo volvuntur sidera lapsu. 

Fulminibus propior terrae succenditur aer, 

Imaque telluris ventos tractusque coruscos 270 

Flaminarum accipiunt : nubes excedit Olympus. 

Lege deum minimas rerum discordia turbat, 

Pacem magna tenent. Quam laetae Caesaris aures 

Accipient tantum venisse in proelia civem ! 

Nam praelata suis numquam diversa dolebit 275 

Castra ducis Magni ; nimium placet ipse Gitoni, 

Si bellum civile placet. Pars magna senatus 

Et duce privato gesturus proelia consul 

Sollicitant proceresque alii ; quibus adde Catonem 

Sub iuga Pompei, toto iam liber in orbe 280 

Solus Caesar erit. Quod si pro legibus arma 

Ferre iuvat patriis libertatemque tueri. 

Nunc neque Pompei Brutum neque Caesaris hostem, 

* Poiiipey, who then held no magistracy. 



it to stand firm so many years, untouched by the 
vices of a profligate age ? Ttiis will be your sole 
reward for the virtue of a lifetime - that war, 
which finds others already guilty, will make you 
guilty at last. Heaven forbid that this fatal strife 
should have power to stir your hands also to 
action. Javelins launched by your arm will not 
hurtle through the indistinguishable cloud of missiles ; 
and, in order that all that virtue may not spend 
itself in vain, all the hazard of war will hurl itself 
upon you; for who, th-ough staggering beneath an- 
other's stroke, will not wish to fall by your sword 
and make you guilty ? Fitter than war for you is 
peaceful life and tranquil solitude; so the stars of 
heaven roll on for ever unshaken in their courses. 
Tiie part of air nearest earth is fired by thunder- 
bolts, and the low-lying places of the world are 
visited by gales and long flashes of flame ; but 
Olympus rises above the clouds. It is heaven's law, 
that small things are troubled and distracted, while 
great things enjoy peace. What joyful news to 
Caesar's ear, that so great a citizen has joined the 
fray ! He will never resent your preference of his 
rival, of Pompey's camp to his own ; for, if Cato 
countenances civil war, he countenances Caesar also 
more than enough. When half the Senate, when 
the consuls and other nobles, mean to wage war 
under a leader who holds no office,^ the temptation 
is strong ; but, if Cato too submit like these to 
Pompey, Caesar will be the only free man left on 
earth. If, however, we resolve to bear arms in 
defence of our country's laws and to maintain 
freedom, you behold in me one who is not now the 
foe of either Caesar or Pompey, though I shall be 



Post bellum victoris habes." Sic fatur ; at illi 

Arcano sacras reddit Cato pectore voces : 28j 

" Summunij Brute, nefas civilia bella fatemur; 

Sed quo fata trahunt, virtus secura sequetur. 

Crimen erit superis et me fecisse nocentem. 

Sidera quis munduraque velit spectare cadentem 

Expers ipse metus ? quis, cum ruat arduus aether, 29( 

Terra labet mixto coeuntis pondere mundi, 

Compressas tenuisse manus ? gentesne furorem 

Hesperium ignotae Romauaque bella sequentur 

Diduclique fretis alio sub sidere reges, 

Otia solus agam ? procul hunc arcete furorem, 29i 

O superi, motura Dahas ut clade Getasque 

Securo me Roma cadat. Ceu morte parentem 

Natorum orbatum longum producere funus 

Ad tumulos iubet ipse dolor, iuvat ignibus atris 

Inseruisse manus constructoque aggere busti 30( 

Ipsum atras tenuisse faces, non ante revellar, 

Exanimem quam te conplectar, Roma ; tuumque 

Nomen, Libertas, et inanem prosequar umbram. 

Sic eat : inmites Romana piacula divi 

Plena ferant, nuUo fraudemus sanguine bellum. SOL 

O utinam caelique dels Erebique liceret 

Hoc caput in cunctas damnatum exponere poenas ! 

Devotum hostiles Decium pressere catervae : 

Me geminae figant acies, me barbara telis 

Rheni turba petat, cunctis ego pervius hastis 31C 

1 This promise was made good when Brutus stabbed Caesar. 



the foe of the conqueror when war is over."^ So 
Brutus spoke, and Cato from the sacred shrine of 
his heart made this reply : " Brutus, I allow that 
civil war is the worst wickedness ; but V^irtue will 
follow fearless wherever destiny summons her. It 
will be a reproach to the gods, that they have made 
even me guilty. VVHio would choose to watch the 
starry vault falling down and to feel no fear himself? 
or to sit with folded hands, when high heaven 
was crashing down and earth shaking with the 
confused weight of a collapsing firmament? If 
nations unknown, if kings who reign in another 
clime beyond the seas, join the madness of Italy 
and the standards of Rome, shall I alone dwell in 
peace? Heaven keep far from me this madness, 
that the fall of Rome, which will stir by her disaster 
the Dahae and the Getae, should leave me in- 
different! When a father is robbed of his sons by 
death, grief itself bids him lead the long funeral 
train to the grave ; he is fain to thrust his hands into 
the doleful fires, and himself to hold the smoky 
torch where the lofty pyre rises. So never shall 
I be torn away before 1 embrace the lifeless body 
of my country ; and I will follow to the grave the 
mere name and empty ghost of Freedom. So be it ! 
Let Rome pay atonement in full to the pitiless 
gods, and let no man's life be denied to the claim 
of war ! But would it were possible for me, con- 
demned by the powers of heaven and hell, to be 
the scapegoat for the nation ! As hordes of foemen 
bore down Decius when he had offered his life, so 
may both armies pierce this body, may the savages 
from the Rhine aim their weapons at me ; may I be 
transfixed by every spear, and may 1 stand between 



Excipiam medius totius volnera belli. 

Hie redimat sanguis populos, hae caede luatur, 

Quidquid Romani meruerunt pendere mores. 

Ad iuga cur fijiciles populi, eur saeva volentes 

Regna pati pereunt? me solum invadite ferro, 31f 

Me frustra leges et inania iura tuentem. 

Hie dabit, bic pacem iugulus finemque malorum 

Gentibus Hesperiis: post me regnare volenti 

Non opus est bello. Quin publica signa ducemque 

Pompeium sequimur? nee, si fortuna favebit, 320 

Hunc quoque totius sibi ius promittere mundi 

Non bene conpertum est: ideo me milite vincat, 

Ne sibi se vicisse putet." Sic fatur^ et acres 

Irarum movit stimulos iuvenisque calorem 

Excitat in nimios belli civilis amores. 325 

Interea Phoebo gelidas pellente tenebras 
Pulsatae sonuere fores, quas saucta relictO' 
Hortensi maerens inrupit Marcia busto. 
Quondam virgo toris melioris iuncta mariti, 
Mox ubi conubii pretium mercesque soluta est 330 

Tertia iam suboles, alios fecunda penates 
Inpletura datur geminas et sanguine matris 
Permixtura domos. Sed postquam condidit urna 
Supremos cineres, miserando concita voltu, 
Eirusas laniata comas contusaque pectus 335 

Verberibus crebris cineresque ingesta sepulchri, 

^ Cato, who transferred her later to Horteiisiua. 


and intercept every blow dealt in this war ! Let 
my blood redeem the nations, and my death 
pay the whole penalty incurred by the corruption 
of Rome. If the nations are willing to bear the 
yoke and resent not harsh tyranny, why should they 
die? Aim your swords at me alone, at me who 
fight a losing battle for despised law and justice. 
My blood, mine only, will bring peace to the people 
of Italy and end their sufferings ; the would-be 
tyrant need wage no war, once I am gone. Why 
should I not follow the standard of the nation and 
Pompey as my leader ? And yet I know full well 
that, if fortune favour him, he too looks forward to 
mastery over the world. Let me then serve in his 
victorious army, and prevent him from thinking that 
he has conquered for himself alone." Thus Cato 
spoke, filling the younger man with strong incen- 
tives to battle and prompting his high spirit to 
excessive desire for civil war. 

Meanwhile the sun was dispelling chilly night, 
when a loud knocking was heard at the door, and 
in rushed the matron, Marcia, mourning for Hor- 
tensius whose pyre she had just left. As a 
maiden she had first been wedded to a nobler 
husband ; ^ then, when she had received the reward 
and fee of wedlock in the birth of a third child, she 
was given to another household, to populate it with 
her fruitfulness and to ally the two houses by the 
maternal blood. But now, when she had laid the 
ashes of Hortensius in their final urn, she hastened 
hither in piteous guise : torn and disordered was 
her hair, and her breast bruised with repeated 
blows ; she was covered with the funeral ashes. 
Not otherwise could she have found favour with 



Non aliter placitura viro, sic maesta profatur : 

" Dum sanguis inerat, dum vis materna, peregi 

lussa, Cato, et geminos excepi feta maritos ; 

Visceribus lassis partuque exiiausta reverter 340 

lam nulli tradenda viro. Da foedera prisci 

Inlibata tori, da tantum nomen inane 

Conubii ; liceat tumulo scripsisse : ' Catonis 

Marcia' ; nee dubium longo quaeratur in aevo, 

Mutarim primas expulsa, an tradita, taedas. 345 

Non me laetorum sociam rebusque secundis 

Accipis : in curas venio partemque laborum. 

Da mihi castra sequi. Cur tuta in pace relinquar, 

Et sit civili propior Cornelia bello ? " 

Hae flexere virum voces, et tempora quamquam 
Sint alienia toris, iara fato in bella vocante, 351 

Foedera sola tamen vanaque carentia pompa 
lura placent sacrisque deos admittere testes. 
Festa coronato non pendent limine serta, 
Infulaque in geminos discurrit Candida postes, 355 

Legitimaeque faces, gradibusque adciinis eburnis 
Stat torus et pic to vestes discriminat auro, 
Turritaque premens frontem matrona corona 
Translata vitat contingere limina planta ; 
Non timidum nuptae leviter tectura pudorem 360 

Lutea demissos velarunt flammea voltus, 
Balteus aut fluxos gemmis astrinxit araictus, 
CoUa monile decent, umerisque haerentia primis 

^ The wife of Pompey. 

2 "The marriage takes 22 lines, 17 of which describe the 
usages dispensed with by the pair, 3 those complied with ; 
2 are introductory " (Heitland's Iniroduction, p. Ixxii). 


BOOK I J ?/. 

Cato. And thus she spoke sorrowing: ** While 
there was warm blood in these veins and 1 had 
power to be a mother, I did your bidding, Cato : I 
took two husbands and bore them children. Now 
I return wearied and worn-out with child-bearing, 
and I must not again be surrendered to any other 
husband. Grant me to renew the faithful compact 
of my first marriage ; grant me only the name of 
wife ; suffer men to write on my tomb, ^ Marcia, wife 
of Cato ' ; let not the question be disputed in after 
time, whether I was driven out or handed over by 
you to a second husband. You do not receive me 
to share in happiness or for prosperous times : I 
come to take my part in anxiety and trouble. 
Suffer me to follow the camp. Why should I be 
left behind in peace and safety, and be kept further 
away than Cornelia ^ from civil war ? " 

Her words moved her husband. Though the time 
when Fate called men to arms was ill-suited for a 
marriage, they resolved to tie the knot simply and 
perform the rite with no useless display ; the gods 
alone should be present to witness the ceremony.^ 
No festal garlands, no wreath, hung from the 
lintel ; no white fillet ran this way and that to 
each post of the door. The customary torches ; 
the high couch supported on ivory steps and dis- 
playing a coverlet of gold embroidery ; the matron, 
wearing on her head a towered crown, and careful 
not to touch the threshold when her foot crosses 
it — all these are absent. No saffron veil, intended 
lightly to screen the bride's shy blushes, hid the 
downcast face; no belt bound the flowing raiment 
with jewels, no fair circlet confined the neck, nor 
did a scarf, clinging to the tip of the shoulder, 



Suppara nudatos cingunt angusta lacertos. 
Sicut erat, maesti servat lugubria cultus, 
Quoque modo natos, hoc est amplexa maritum. 
Obsita funerea celatur purpura lana. 
Non soliti lusere sales, nee more Sabino 
Excepit tristis convicia festa maritus. 
Pignora nulla domus, nulli coiere propinqui : 
lunguntur taciti contentique auspice Bruto. 
Ille nee horrificam sancto dimovit ab ore 
Caesariem duroque admisit gaudia voltu, — 
Ut primum tolli feralia viderat arma, 
Intonsos rigidam in frontem descendere canos 
Passus erat maestamque genis incrcscere barbam : 
Uni quippe vacat studiis odiisque carenti 
Humanum lugere genus — nee foedera prisci 
Sunt tem[)tata tori ; iusto quoque robur amori 
Restitit. Hi mores, haec duri inmota Catonis 
Secta fuit, servare modum finemque tenere 
Naturamque sequi patriaeque inpendere vitam 
Nee sibi sed toti genitum se credere mundo. 
Huic epulae, vicisse famem ; magnique penates, 
Summovisse hiemem tecto ; pretiosaque vestis, 
Hirtam membra super Romani more Quiritis 
Induxisse togam ; Venerisque hie unicus^ usus. 
Progenies ; urbi pater est urbique maritus, 
lustitiae cultor, rigidi servator honesti, rr,. ^ 

unicus Bentley : maximus MS8. 

1 This band went round the tunio. 


■ surround the bare arms with narrow band. Marcia 
made no change but kept the solemnity of her 
widow's weeds, and embraced her husband just as 
she did her sons. The purple band ^ was covered and 
concealed by wool of funereal colour. The customary 

"light jesting was silent, nor was the sullen husband 
greeted by the ceremonial abuse in Sabine fashion. 

. No members of the family and no kinsmen as- 
sembled : their hands were joined in silence, and 
they were satisfied with the presence of Brutus as 

.' augur. The husband refused to remove the shaggy 
growth from his reverend face ; nor did his 
stern features grant access to joy. (Ever since he 
saw the weapons of ill-omened war raised up, he 
had sutTered the grey hair to grow long over his 

? stern brow and the beard of the mourner to spread 
over his face ; for he alone, free from love and 
free from hate, had leisure to wear mourning 
for mankind.) Nor did he seek to renew the 
former relations with liis wife: that iron nature was 
proof even against wedded love. Such was the 

1 character, such the inflexible rule of austere Cato — 
to observe moderation and hold fast to the limit, 
to follow nature, to give his life for his country, 
to believe that he was born to serve the whole 

\i world and not himself. To him it was a feast to 
banish hunger ; it was a lordly palace to fend off 
hard weather with a roof over his head ; it was 
fine raiment to draw over his limbs the rough toga 
which is a Roman's dress in time of peace. In his 
view the sole purpose of love was offspring; for 
the State he became a husband and father; he 
worshipped justice and practised uncompromising 
virtue; he reserved his kindness for the whole 



111 coirimune bonus ; nullosque Catonis in actus 390 

Subrepsit partemque tulit sibi nata voluptas. 

Interea trepido descendens agmine Magnus 
Moenia Dardanii tenuit Campana coloni. 
Haec placuit belli sedes, hinc summa moventera 
Hostis in occursum sparsas extendere partes, 395 

Umbrosis mediam qua collibus Appenninus 
Erigit Italiam, nuUoque a vertice tellus 
Altius inturauit propiusque accessit Olympo, 
Mons inter geminas medius se porrigit undas 
Inferni superiqae maris, collesque coercent 400 

Hinc Tyrrhena vado frangentes aequora Pisae, 
Illinc Dalraaticis obnoxia fluctibus Ancon. 
Fontibus hie vastis inmensos concipit amnes 
Fluminaque in gemini spargit divortia ponti. 
(In laevum cecidere latiis veloxque Metaurus 405 

Crustumiumque rapax et iuncto Sapis Isauro 
Senaque et Hadriacas qui verbevat Aufidus undas ; 
Quoque magis nullum tellus se solvit in amnem, 
Eridanus fractas devolvit in aequora silvas 
Hesperiamque exhaurit aquis. Hunc fabula primum 
Populea fluvium ripas umbrasse corona, 411 

Cumque diem pronum transverso limite ducens 
Succendit Phaethon flagrantibus aethera loris, 
Gnrgitibus raptis penitus tellure perusta, 
Hunc habuisse pares Phoebeis ignibus undas. 415 

Non minor hie Nilo, si non per plana iacentis 
Aegypti Libycas Nilus stagnaret harenas ; 

1 Capua was believed to have been founded by the. Trojan 

■-* Also called the Tyrrhene and Adriatic seas. 

^ Lucan's readers must have known that there were rivers 



people ; and there was no act of Cato's life where 
selfisli pleasure crept in and claimed a share. 

Meanwhile Magnus marched away in haste and 
occupied the Campanian walls founded by the 
Trojan.^ Capua was chosen as the seat of war ; he 
resolved to make Capua the base of his chief cam- 
paign, and from there to disperse and extend his 
forces in order to meet the enemy where Apennine 
raises up the centre of Italy in wooded hills ; nor is 
there any peak at which earth rises higher and 
approaches closer to the sky. Midway between the 
two seas, the Lower and the Upper,^ the mountains 
stretch ; and the range is bounded on the west by Pisa, 
where her beach breaks the Tyrrhene sea, and on the 
east by Ancona, which faces the Dalmatian billows. 
From vast springs the mountain engenders mighty 
rivers and scatters their streams along the water-sheds 
that lead to two seas. (Eastward flow the swift 
Metaurus and rushing Crustumium,theSapis together 
with the Isaurus, the Sena, the Aufidus which buffets 
the waves of the Adriatic; and there the Po, as mighty 
a river as any which earth discharges,* snaps off 
forests and sweeps them down to sea and drains the 
soil of Italy. As legend tells, this was the first river 
whose banks were shaded by a ring of poplars ; and 
when Phaethon drove the sun downwards athwart its 
appointed course and kindled the sky with his burning 
reins, till the waters vanished and earth was burnt to 
its core, this river had streams sufficient to match 
the sun's fire. The Nile would not be greater, did 
it not flood the Libyan desert over the flats of low- 
lying Egypt ; the Danube would be no greater, did 

greater than the Po, and mountains higher than the 
Apennines ; but they did not demand truth from poets. 



Non minor hie Histro, nisi quod, dum permeat orbem, 

Hister casuros in quaelibet aequora fontes 

Accipit et Scythicas exit non solus in undas. i2C 

Dexteriora petens montis declivia Tliybrim 

Unda facit Rutubamque cavum. Delabitur inde 

Vulturn usque celer nocturnaeque editor aurae 

Sarnus et umbrosae Liris per regna Maricae 

Vestinis inpulsus aquis radensque Salerni 42f 

Tesca ^ Siler, nuUasque vado qui Macra moratus 

Alnos vicinae procurrit in aequora Lunae.) 

Longior educto qua surgit in aera dorso, 

Gallica rura videt devexasque excipit Alpes. 

Tunc Umbris Marsisque ferax domitusque Sabello 43C 

Vomere, piniferis amplexus rupibus omnes 

Indigenas Latii populos, non deserit ante 

Hesperiam, quam cum Scyllaeis clauditur undis, 

Extenditque suas in templa Lacinia rupes, 

Longior Italia, donee confinia pontus 43f 

Solveret incumbens terrasque repelleret aequor; 

At postquam gemino tellus elisa profundo est, 

Extremi colles Siculo cessere Peloro. 

Caesar in arma furens nullas nisi sanguine fuso 
Gaudet habere vias, quod non terat hoste vacantes 44( 
Hesperiae fines vacuosque inrumpat in agros 
Atque ipsum non perdat iter consertaque bellis 
Bella gerat. Non tam portas intrare patentes 
Quam fregisse iuvat, nee tam patiente colono 

* Tesca Heinsius : tecta or culta ^fS3. 

1 The Euxine. 

* The meaning is that the river is not navigable. 
' The straits of Messina. 

* The temple of Juno Lacina, on the Gulf of Tarentum. 


BOOK 11 

it not, in its course over the globe, receive waters 
that might otherwise fall into any sea, and carry 
them with it into the Scythian main.^ But the 
waters that run down the western slo])es of Apennine 
give birth to the Tiber and the Rutuba in its deep 
channel ; and also from there swift Vulturnus flows 
down, and the Sarnus that sends forth exhalations 
by night; the Liris, driven by Vestinian waters 
through the haunts of the wood-nymph, Marica ; the 
Siler that grazes the rugged country of Salernum ; 
and the Macra, whose shallow stream delays no 
ships 2 and speeds forward into the sea of Luna near 
at hand.) Where the Apennines taper out and rise 
skywards with lofty ridge, they look on the land of 
Gaul and come close to the foot-hills of the Alps. 
Further south, the range bears harvests for the 
Umbrians and Marsians, and is tamed by the Samnite 
ploughshare ; its pine-clad cliffs embrace all the 
native races of Italy, never leaving the land till 
barred by the waters of Scylla,^ and stretching as 
far as Lacina's temple.* The ridge was once longer 
than Itfily is now, before the pressure of the sea 
sundered the isthmus and the water drove back the 
land ; but when the earth was crushed out by the 
two seas, that end of the Apennines was surrendered 
to Pelorus in Sicily. 

Caesar, frantic for war, rejoices to find no passage 
except by shedding blood ; it pleases him that the 
land of Italy on which he tramples supplies him 
with a foe, that the fields which he assaults are not 
undefended, and that even his marches are not 
wasted, but battle follows battle with no interval 
between. He would rather burst a city gate than 
find it open to admit him ; he would rather ravage 


Arva premi, quam si ferro populetur et igni. 445 

Concessa pudet ire via civemque videri. 
Tunc urbes Latii dubiae varioque favore 
Ancipites, quamquam primo terrore ruentis 
Cessurae belli, denso tamen aggere firmant 
Moenia et abrupto circumdant undique vallo, 450 

Saxorumque orbes, et quae super eminus hostera 
Tela petant, altis murorum turribus aptant. 
Pronior in Magnum populus, pugnatque minaei 
Cum terrore fides ; ut cum mare possidet Auster 
Flatibus horrisonis, hunc aequora tota secuntur : 455 
Si rursus tellus pulsu laxata tridentis 
Aeolii tumidis inmittat fluctibus Eurum, 
Quamvis icta novo, ventum tenuere priorem 
Aequora, nubiferoque polus cum cesserit Euro, 
Vindicat unda Notum. Facilis sed vertere mentes 460 
Terror erat, dubiamque fidem fortuna ferebat. 

Gens Etrusca fuga trepidi nudata Libonis, 
lusque sui pulso iam perdidit Umbria Thermo. 
Nee gerit auspiciis civilia bella paternis 
Caesaris audito con versus nomine Sulla. 465 

Varus, ut admotae pulsarunt Auximon alae. 
Per diversa ruens neglecto moenia tergo. 
Qua silvae, qua saxa, fugit. Dej)ellitur area 
Lentulus Asculea ; victor cedentibus instat 
Devertitque acies, solusque ex agmine tanto 470 

1 Seven generals are now enumerated, who all commauded 
detachments of Pompey's troops in N. Italy. 



the land with fire and sword than overrun it without 
protest from the husbandman. He scorns to advance 
by an unguarded road, or to act like a peaceful citizen. 
In this hour the towns of Italy, hesitating and waver- 
ing in their sympathy for this side or that, though 
ready to yield at the first alarm of war's onset, never- 
theless strengthen their walls with many a rampart 
and surround them on all sides with steep palisades ; 
and round stones and missiles to strike the enemy 
from above are fitted to the high towers of the walls. 
The inhabitants favour Magnus more, and loyalty 
contends with the menace of danger. So, when the 
roaring blast of the South wind is master of the sea, 
all the main is swayed by it; and even if the earth, 
opened again by Aeolus with his trident, lets loose 
the East wind on the swollen waves, the ocean, 
though smitten by the second wind, remains true to 
the first ; and, though the sky surrenders to the 
rainy East wind, the sea asserts the power of the 
South. But danger was quick to change men's 
minds, and the turn of events swept away wavering 

The men of Etruria are left defenceless by the 
hasty flight of Libo,^ and the rout of Thermus has 
already taken from Umbria the power of free action. 
Sulla, too, has not the fortune of his father in civil 
war, but turns to flight on hearing the mere name of 
Caesar. Varus, when the advancing cavalry knocked 
at the gates of Auximum, rushed through the opposite 
gate where the foe had left the rear unguarded, and 
fled through forests and hills. Lentulus was dis- 
lodged from the fortress of Asculum, and the 
conqueror, pressing hard on their retreat, cut off the 
army : alone of all the force the general escaped, and 



Dux fugit et nullas ducentia signa cohortes. 
Tu quoque nudatam commissae deseris arcem, 
Scipio, Nuceriae, quamquam firmissima pubes 
His sedeat castris, iampridem Caesaris armis 
Parthorum seducta metu, qua Gallica damna 475 

Supplevit Magnus, dumque ipse ad bella vocaret, 
Donavit socero Romani sanguinis usum. 
At te Corfini validis circumdata muris 
Tecta tenent, pugnax Doiniti ; tua classica servat 
Oppositus quondam pollute tiro Miloni. 480 

Ut procul inmensam campo consurgere nubem 
Ardentesque acies percussis sole corusco 
Conspexit telis, " Socii, decurrite " dixit 
" Fluminis ad ripas undaeque inraergite pontem. 
Et tu montanis totus nunc fontibus exi 485 

Atque omnes trahe^ gurges, aquas, ut spumeus alnos 
Discussa conpage feras. Hoc limite bellum 
Haereat, hac hostis lentus terat otia ripa. 
Praecipitem cohibete ducem : victoria nobis 
Hie primum stans Caesar erit." Nee plura locutus 490 
Devolvit rapidum nequiquam moenibus agmen. 
Nam prior e campis ut conspicit amne solute 
Rumpi Caesar iter, calida proclamat ^ ab ira : 
" Non satis est muris latebras quaesisse pavori ? 
Obstruitis campos fluviisque arcere paratis, 495 

Ignavi ? non si tumido me gurgite Ganges* 
Summoveat, stabit iam flumine Caesar in ullo 

* proclamat Bentley : prolatus M88. 

^.* In 53 B.C. Ponipey lent a legion to Caesar in Gaul; but the 
men were recalled to Italy in 50 B.O, 
2 Cf. i. 323. 



the standards that brought no troops behind them. 
Scipio too abandons the stronghold of Nuceria and 
leaves his charge defenceless^ though here were 
encamped stalwart soldiers, withdrawn long ago 
from Caesar's army because of the Parthian peril ; 
with these Magnus once made good the losses in 
Gaul, and granted a loan of Roman lives to his 
kinsman, until he himself should summon them to 

But Domitius, eager for battle, lay behind strong 
walls in the city of Corfinium ; and under his 
command were the men who, as recruits, had been 
arrayed against bloodstained Milo.^ When Domitius 
saw far away a vast cloud of dust rising from the 
plain, and the glitter of a host whose weapons were 
struck by the sunlight, " Comrades," he cried " speed 
down to the river banks and sink the bridge beneath 
the water. I call on the stream at once to issue forth 
in might from its springs in the mountains and bring 
hither all its waters, to carry down with foaming 
current the planks of the shattered structure. At 
this point must the war be stayed ; on these banks 
let the foe waste time in idleness ! Check ye his 
headlong haste ; it will be a victory to us if Caesar 
is first brought to a halt here." Without another 
word he hurried the soldiers down from the walls, 
but in vain. Caesar got the start of him : from the 
plain he saw that they were letting loose the river 
to interrupt his march ; and in hot anger he cried 
out : " Cowards ! not content with seeking a hiding- 
place behind walls for your fear, do you barricade 
the plains and seek to keep me off by means of 
rivers? After crossing the Rubicon, never again 
will Caesar be stopped by any stream, not even if the 



Post Rubiconis aquas. Equitum properate catervae, 

Ite simul pedites, ruiturum ascendite pontem." 

Haec ubi dicta, levis totas accepit habenas 600 

In campum sonipes, crebroque simillima nimbo 

Trans ripam validi torserunt tela lacerti. 

Ingreditur pulsa fluvium statione vacantem 

Caesar, et ad tutas hostis conpellitur arces. 

Et iam moturas ingentia pondera turres 505 

Erigit, et mediis subrepit vinea niuris : 

Ecce, nefas belli ! reseratis agmina portis 

Captivum traxere ducem, civisque superbi 

Constitit ante pedes. Voltu tamen alta minaci 

Nobilitas recta ferrum cervice poposcit. 610 

Scit Caesar poenamque peti veniamque timeri. 

" Vive, licet nolis, et nostro munere " dixit 

" Cerne diem. Victis iam spes bona partibus esto 

Exemplumque mei. Vel, si libet, arma retempta, 

Et nihil hac venia, si viceris, ipse paciscor." 615 

Fatur et astrictis laxari vincula palmis 

Imperat. Heu quanto melius vel caede peracta 

Parcere Romano potuit fortuna pudori ! 

Poenarum extremum civi, quod castra secutus 

Sit patriae Magnumque ducem totumque senatum, 520 

Ignosci. Premit ille graves interritus iras 

Et secum : " Romamne petes pacisque recessus 

Degener ? in medios belli non ire furores 

* /.«. the bridge over the stream. 

J'^A3IJ300K II 

Gnnges blocked his way with its swollen, flood. Let 
tlie squadrons of horse gallop forward and the 
infantry also advance ; and mount the bridge ere it 
falls." When thus he spoke, the light horse charged 
in full gallop across the plain, and strong arms 
hurled javelins like heavy rain over the bank. 
Driving back the guard, Caesar occupies the un- 
defended stream,^ and the enemy are forced back to 
the safety of the citadel. Next Caesar erects to vers 
to launch huge masses of stone, and the penthouse 
creeps up to the walls that divide the armies. But 
see ! — abomination of war ! — the gates are opened 
and the soldiers drag their general a prisoner. 
Domitius halted in the presence of his arrogant 
equal ; yet with threatening mien and neck unbent, 
his lofty soul demanded death by the sword. But 
knowing that he sought punishment and feared 
pardon, Caesar addressed him : '' Live on, against 
your will, and see the sun by my generosity. Be an 
earnest of hope to your friends when they are con- 
quered, and enable them to judge of me ; even, if 
you choose, draw the sword again ; and, if you prove 
victorious, 1 make no bargain for myself on the 
strength of mercy shown to you." With these 
words he bids the bonds be loosened from the fettered 
hands. How much better, if he had been slain 
outright, would Fortune have respected the honour 
of a Roman ! This surpasses all other penalties, that 
for joining the army of his country — an army led by 
Magnus and including the whole Senate — a patriot 
should be pardoned ! Unterrified, Domitius hid his 
grievous wrath, and thus addressed himself : " Will 
you, thus disgraced, seek peaceful retirement at 
Rome ? Haste rather to the centre of war's horrors 



I^m dudum moriture paras ? rue certus et omnes 
Lucis riimpe moras et Caesaris efFuge munus." 626 

Nescius interea ca])ti ducis arma parabat 
Magnus, ut inmixto firmaret robore partes, 
lainque secuturo iussurus classica Phoebo 
Temptandasque ratus moturi militis iras 
Adloquitur tacitas veneranda voce cohortes : 630 

'f O scelerum ultores melioraque signa seciiti, 
O vere Romana manus, quibus arma senatus 
Non privata dedit, votis deposcite pugnam. 
Ardent Hesperii saevis populatibus agri, 
Gallica per gelidas rabies effunditur Alpes, 535 

lam tetigit sanguis pollutes Caesaris enses. ^ t 

Di melius, belli tulimus quod damna priores : r 

Coeperit inde nefas, iam iam me praeside Roma 
Supplicium poenamque petat. Neque enim ista vocari 
Proelia iusta decet, patriae sed vindicis iram ; 540 

Nee magis hoc bellum est, quam quom Catilina paravit 
Arsuras in tecta faces sociusque furoris 
Lentulus exertique manus vaesana Cethegi. 
O rabies miseranda ducis ! cum fata Camillis 
Te, Caesar, magnisque velint miscere Metellis, 645 

Ad Cinnas Mariosque venis. Sternere profecto^ 
Ut Catulo iacuit Lepidus, nostrasque secures 
Passus, Sicanio tegitur qui Carbo sepulchre, 
Quique feros movit Sertorius exul Hiberos. 

^ It was a custom with this family to wear no tunic under the 
toga, so that the arms were bare : comp. vi. 794. 



and die as soon as may be. Speed straight to your 
mark, snap every tie that binds you to life, and 
escape Caesar's generosity ! ** 

Magnus meanwhile, unaware that Domitius had 
been made prisoner, was taking the field, in order to 
encourage liis adherents by an addition of strength. 
On the following day he intended to bid his trumpets 
sound, and now thought fit to test the ardour of his 
men before they marched. There was silence in the 
ranks as that august voice addressed them : 
*' Avengers of crime and followers of the rightful 
standards, Romans indeed, whom the Senate has 
armed to defend your country, declare now your 
eagerness for battle. The fields of Italy are on fire 
with savage devastation, the fury of Gaul is pouring 
over the wintry Alps, blood has already touched and 
defiled the swords of Caesar. I thank Heaven that 
we first have borne the losses of war ; be it so ! let 
the wickedness begin with the other side ; but now 
must Rome, under my leadership, demand the 
penalty and inflict the punishment. For the battles 
you must fight should not be called battles but the 
wrath and vengeance of our country. This is net 
war, any more than it was when brands to burn our 
houses were prepared by Catiline, and by Lentulus, 
his partner in wickedness, and by the frantic hand of 
Cethegus-the man of the naked arm.^ What 
pitiable madness is Caesar's ! Though Fortune is 
ready to raise him to the height of a Camillus or 
great Metellus, he joins the ranks of such as Marius 
and Cinna. His defeat is certain, just as Lepidus 
was overthrown by Catulus, and as Carbo, who now 
lies in a Sicilian grave, was beheaded by my orders ; 
and so Sertorius fell, who in exile stirred the fierce 



Quamquam, si qua fides, his te quoque iungere, Caesar, 

Invideo nostrasque manus quod Roma furenti 651 

Opposuit. Parthorum utinam post proelia sospes 

Et Scythicis Crassus victor remeasset ab oris, 

Ut simili causa caderes, quoi ^ Spartacus, hosti. ; 

Te quoque si superi titulis accedere nostris 655 

lusserunt, valet en ! torquendo dextera pile, 

Fervidus haec iterum circa praecordia sanguis 

Incaluit ; disces non esse ad bella fugaces. 

Qui pacem potuere pati. Licet ille solutum 

Defectumque vocet, ne vos mea terreat aetas : 660 

Dux sit in his castris senior, dum miles in illis. 

Quo potuit civem populus perducere liber, 

Ascendi, supraque nihil, nisi regna, reliqui. 

Non privata cupis, Romana quisquis in urbe 

Pompeium transire paras. Hinc consul uterque, 665 

Hinc acies statura ducum est. Caesarne senatus 

Victor erit.'' non tam caeco trahis omnia cursu, 

Teque nihil, Fortuna, pudet. lunctisne ^ rebellis 

Gallia iam lustris aetasque inpensa labori 

Dant animos ? Rheni gelidis quod fugit ab undis 670 

Oceanumque vocans incerti stagna profundi 

Territa quaesitis ostendit terga Britannis ? 

An vanae tumuere minae, quod fama furoris 

Rxpulit armatam patriis e sedibus urbem ? 

Heu demens ! non te fugiunt, me cuncta secuntur. 

^ quoi Housman : quod or qua MSS. 

* lunctis suggested by Housman : multis MSS. : geminis Bentley. 

— . _ . , ) 

* The army of slaves and gladiators led by Spartacus was 
destroyed by Crassus in 71 B.C. 

2 So Livy says of the 300 Fabii, ** every one of them was fit 
to command " {qvorxim neminem ducem sperneres). 
2 The North Sea with its tides is meant. 



Spaniards to war. And yet, upon my honour, I am 
loth to couple Caesar even with these, and I grieve 
that Rome has set my arm to stop his madness. 
Would that Crassus had returned after battle with 
the Parthians alive and victorious from the borders 
of Scythia, that Caesar, not less guilty than Spartacus,* 
might be overthrown by the same antagonist. But 
if Heaven has ordained that he too should add to my 
fame, see ! this right hand has strength to hurl the 
pilum, the blood about this heart has kindled to a 
glow once again ; he shall leain that men who were 
able to put up with peace are no cowards in war. 
Though he call me feeble and worn out, you must 
not be disquieted by my age : that I am older than 
Caesar matters not, provided his soldiers are older 
than mine. I have risen as high as a free people 
could exalt a citizen, and above me nothing remains 
save tyranny. Whoever schemes to rise above 
Pompey in the Roman State covets too much for a 
mere subject. On my side both consuls will take their 
stand, and on my side an army made up of generals.^ 
Shall Caesar defeat the Sen ite } No I Fortune does 
not bring on the course of events so bhndly ; she is 
not so utterly shameless. What emboldens Caesar ? 
Is it Gaul, which twice five years have not tamed ? Is 
it a lifetime devoted to the task ? Is it because he 
fled from the cold waters of Rhine, and gave the 
name of Ocean to the pools of a sea ^ that was 
neither sea nor land, and turned his back in panic 
to the Britons whom he went out of his way to 
attack ? Or have his idle threats risen high, 
because the report of his madness has driven the 
people forth in arms from their native city .'' Poor 
madman ! It is not you before whom all things flee, 



Qui cum signa tuli toto fulgentia ponto. 

Ante bis exactum quam Cynthia conderet orbem, 

Omne fretum metuens pelagi pirata reliquit 

Angustaque domum terrarum in sede poposcit. 

Idem per Scythici profugum divortia ponti 

Indomitum regem Romanaque fata morantem 

Ad mortem Sulla felicior ire coegi. 

Pars mundi mihi nulla vacat ; sed tota tenetur 

Terra meis, quocumque iacet sub sole, trop^eis : 

Hinc me victorem gelidas ad Phasidos undas 

Arctos habet ; calida medius mihi cognitus axis 

Aegypto atque umbras nusquam flectente Syene ; 

Occasus mea iura timent Tethynque fugacem 

Qui ferit Hesperius post omnia flumina Baetis. 

Me domitus cognovit Arabs, me Marte feroces 

Heniochi notique erepto vellere Colchi. 

Cappadoces mea signa timent et dedita sacris 

Incerti ludaea dei mollisque Sophene. 

Armenios Cilicasque feros Taurumque subegi. 

Quod socero bellum praeter civile reliqui ? " 591 

Verba ducis nullo partes clamore secuntur 
Nee matura petunt promissae classica pugnae. 
Sensit et ipse metum Magnus, placuitque referri 
Signa nee in tantae discrimina mittere pugnae 
iam victum fama. non visi Caesaris agmen. 
Pulsus ut armentis primo certamine taurus 
Silvarum secreta petit vacuosque per agros 

1 Mithradates, King of Pontus. He was driven to tak 
refuge in his Bosporan kingdom (the Crimea) and sought deati 
there in 63 b.o. 


but I whom all things follow. When I bore the 
standards that shone over all the sea, before the 
moon had twice filled out her disk and hidden it 
again^ the pirates, scared from the sea and abandon- 
ing every creek, begged for a narrow plot of dry 
land to live on. Again, when the indomitable king^ 
obstructed Rome's destiny, 1 drove him in flight 
along the isthmus of the Scythian sea ; and I, more 
fortunate than Sulla, forced him to die. No part of 
the world have I left untouched : the whole earth, 
beneath whatever clime it lies, is occupied by my 
trophies. On one side, the North knows my victories 
by the icy waters of the Phasis ; the torrid zone is 
known to me in sultry Egypt and Syene where the 
shadows fall perpendicular ; my power is dreaded in 
the West, and where Spanish Baetis, remotest of all 
rivers, beats back the ebbing tide. The Arab owns 
me his conqueror ; so do the warlike Heniochi, and 
the Colclnans famous for the fleece they were robbed 
of. My standards overawe Cappadocia, and Judaea 
given over to the worship of an unknown god, and 
effeminate Sophene ; I subdued the Armenians, the 
fierce Cilicians, and the range of Taurus. I have 
left my kinsman no war to wage, except civil war." 

The general's speech was followed by no applause 
from his supporters, nor did his men demand at once 
the signal for the promised battle. Magnus himself 
was conscious of their fear ; and it was decided to 
recall the standards, rather than expose to the 
hazard of a decisive engagement an army already 
beaten by the rumour of Caesar before they saw 
him. When a bull is driven from the herd by his 
first defeat, he seeks the recesses of the forest, or 
spends his solitary banishment in the fields; there 



Exul in adversis explorat cornua truncis 
Nee redit in pastus, nisi eum cerviee recepta 
Excussi placuere tori ; mox reddita victor 
Quoslibet in saltus eomitantibus agmina taiiris 
Invito pastore trahit : sic viribus inpar 
Tradidit Hesperiam profugusque per Apula rura 
Brundisii tutas concessit Magnus in arces. 

Ur])s est Dictaeis olim possessa colonis, 
Qiios Creta profugos vexere per aequora puppes 
Cecropiae, victum mentitis Thesea velis. 
Hinc latus angustum iam se cogentis in artum 
Hesperiae tenuem producit in aequora bnguanj, 
Hadriacas flexis claudit quae cornibus undas. 
Nee tamen hoc artis inmissum faucibus aequor 
Portus erat, si non violentos insula Coros 
Exciperet saxis lassasque refunderet undas. 
Hinc illinc montes scopulosae rupis aperto 
Opposuit natura mari flatusque removit, 
Ut tremulo starent contentae fune carinae. 
Hinc late patet omne fretum, seu vela ferantur 
In portus, Corcyra, tuos, seu laeva petatur 
Illyris lonias vergens Epidamnos in undas. 
Hue fuga nautarum, cum totas Hadria vires 
Movit et in nubes abiere Ceraunia cumque 
Spumoso Calaber perfunditur aequore Sason. 

Ergo, ubi nulla fides rebus post terga relictis 
Nee licet ad duros Martem convertere Hiberos, 

1 The story is told at length in Catullus 64, 212 ff. ; the 
colour of the sails gave the false news. 
* An island. 



he tests his horns upon the tree-trunks for 
oj)})onents ; nor does he return to the pasture till he 
has recovered strength and approves of his starting 
muscles ; but when he has conquered his rival and 
got back his herd, he leads them, accompanied by 
the bulls, to what glades he will, and defies the 
herdsman. Thus Pompey surrendered Italy to his 
stronger rival, and fled through the open country of 
Apulia till he found a safe retreat in the fortress of 

Of yore this city was occupied by men of Dicte — 
Cretan exiles, who were borne across the sea on 
Athenian ships with the sails that falsely told that 
Theseus had been conquered.^ At this point Italy 
grows narrow, and her straitened border puts forth 
a slender tongue of land into the sea — a tongue 
which encloses waters of the Adriatic within curving 
horns. Yet the water that makes its way through 
the narrow entrance would be no harbour, but for 
an island, which confronts the fierce northern gales 
with a barrier of rock and repels the wearied waves. 
On both sides Nature has set masses of craggy cliff 
to meet the open sea, and has kept off the blasts, 
'that ships might ride there at anchor, content with 
a swaying cable. From here all the sea is visible far 
and wide, whether the ship is bound for the ports of 
Corcyra or turns to the left, where Illyrian Epidamnos 
slopes down towards the Ionian sea. Here the 
mariner takes refuge, when the Adriatic puts forth 
^all its might, when the Ceraunian mountains are lost 
in cloud, and when Sason ^ in Calabria is drenched 
with spray. 

Pompey felt no confidence in the success of the 
cause he had left behind him : nor could he transfer 
the war to the land of the hardy Spaniards, because 



Cum mediae iaceant inmensis tractibus Alpes, 630 

Tum subole e taiita natum, cui firmior aetas, 

Adfatur : " Mundi iubeo temptare recessus : 

Euphraten Nilumque move, quo nominis usque 

Nostri fama venit, quas est volgata per urbes 

Post me Roma ducem. Sparsos per rura colonos 635 

Redde mari Cilicas ; Pharios hinc concute reges 

Tigraiiemque meum ; nee Pharnaeis arma relinquas, 

Admoiieo, nee tu populos utraque vagantes 

Armenia Pontique feras per litora gentes 

Riphaeasque manus et quas tenet aequore denso 640 

Pigra palus Scythici patiens Maeotia plaustri, 

Et — quid plura moror ? totos mea, nate, per ortus 

Bella feres totoque urbes agitabis in orbe 

Perdomitas ; omnes redeant in castra triumphi. 

At vos, qui Latios signatis nomine fastos, 646 

Primus in Epirum Boreas agat ; inde per arva 

Graiorum Macetumque novas adquirite vires, 

Dum paci dat tempus hiemps." Sic fatur, et omnes 

lussa gerunt solvuntque cavas a litore puppes. 

At numquam patiens pacis longaeque quietis GGO 

Armorum, ne quid fatis mutare liceret, 
Adsequitur generique premit vestigia Caesar. 
Sufficerent aliis primo tot moenia cursu 
Rapta, tot oppressae depulsis hostibus arces, 
Ipsa, caput mundi, bellorum maxima merces, 655 

Roma capi facilis ; sed Caesar in omnia praeceps, 

1 Cnacus Pompeius Magnus: the younger was Sextus. 

2 The Sea of Azov. 

* The consuls, Lentulus and C. Marcellus. 



the vast extent of the Alps lay between ; and there- 
fore he thus addressed the elder of his noble sons ^ : 
*' I bid you explore the ends of the earth. Stir up 
the Euphrates and the Nile — every region where the 
glory of my fame penetrates, every city where the 
name of Rome became famous alter my exploits. 
Bring back to the sea the Cilician colonists now 
dispersed over the land ; next rouse up the sove- 
reigns of Egypt and Tigranes whom I made king. 
I bid you pay heed also to the army of Pharnaces, 
the nomad races of the two Armenias, the savage 
nations along the shores of the Black Sea, the Car- 
pathian hordes, and the men whom the sluggish 
Maeotian mere,^ trodden by Scythian waggons, 
maintains on its frozen expanse. But why detain 
you longer.'* Carry through all the East the stand- 
ard of your sire, and rouse to arms the cities I have 
conquered all the world over : let all over whom I 
have triumphed repair to my camp. Next, you two 
who date by your names the Roman calendar,^ the 
first North wind must waft you to Epirus. Thence 
seek fresh strength in the lands of Greece and 
Macedon, while winter grants time for peace." 
Thus Pompey spoke, and they all obeyed his bidding 
and loosed their hollow ships from the shore. 

But Caesar, ever impatient of peace or long cessa- 
tion from warfare, and fearing that Fortune might 
have power to work some change, follows close and 
dogs the steps of his son-in-law. Others might be 
content after seizing so many cities at the first 
assault, after surprising so many strongholds and 
dislodging their garrisons, and after seeing Rome 
itself, the capital of the world and the chief prize of 
war, an easy prey ; but Caesar, headlong in all his 
designs, thought nothing done while anything 



Nil actum credens, cum quid superesset agendum, 

Instat atrox et adhuc, quamvis possederit omnem 

Italiam^ extreme sedeat quod litore Magnus, 

Communem tamen esse dolet. Nee rursus aperto 660 

Vult hostes errare freto, sed molibus undas 

Obstruit et latum deiectis rupibus aequor. 

Cedit in inmensum cassus labor : omnia pontus 

Haurit saxa vorax montesque inmiscet harenis : 

Ut maris Aeolii^ medias si celsus in undas 665 

Depellatur Eryx, nullae tamen aequore rupes 

Emiheant^ vel si convolso vertice Gaurus 

Decidat in fundum penitus stagnantis Averni. 

Ergo ubi nulla vado tenuit sua pondera moles, 

Tunc placuit caesis innectere vincula silvis 670 

Roboraque inmensis late religare catenis. 

Tales fama canit tumidum super aequora Persen 

Construxisse vias, multum cum pontibus ausus 

Europamque Asiae Sestonque admovit Abydo 

Incessitque fretum rapidi super Hellesponti, 675 

Non Eurum Zepbyrumque timens, cum vela ratesque 

In medium deferret Atlion. Sic ora profundi 

Artantur casu nemorum ; tunc aggere multo 

Surgit opus, longaeque tremunt super aequora turres. 

Pompeius tellure nova conpressa profundi 680 

Ora videns curis animum mordacibus angit, 
Ut reseret pelagus spargatque per aequora bellum. 
Saepe Noto plenae tensisque rudentibus actae 

^ Aeolii Bentley : Aegaei M88. 

^ Xerxes. 


remained to do. He pressed fiercely forwards ; and, 
though he was master of all Italy, he resented that 
the land was still shared between them ; for Magnus 
retained a foothold on the margin of the sea. But 
unwilling, on the other hand, that the enemy should 
range freely over the deep, he blocks the sea with 
masonry and casts down rocks into the wide waters. 
0<,, In vain the endless labour was carried on ; for the 
greedy main swallowed down every boulder and 
mingled the huge heaps with her sands. So, if 
Mount Eryx were thrown down into the midst of the 
Aeolian sea, or if Gaurus, with summit wrenched 
from its place, were sunk deep down into the 
• Avernian pool, nevertheless no cliffs would emerge 
from the surface of the waters. Therefore, when no 
pile of stone stood steady on the bottom, Caesar next 
resolved to fell trees and bind them together, and to 
make fast a wide expanse of timber with long 
chains. Such, by the report of fame, was the road 
built over the sea by the proud Persian,^ when, 
greatly daring, he brought Europe near to Asia 
and Sestos to Abydos by his bridges, and passed on 
foot over the straits of fast-flowing Hellespont ; East 
wind and West wind had no terrors for him, since he 
conveyed his ships under sail to the centre of Mount 
Athos. Thus the egress to the deep was straitened 
by the felling of the forest ; soon the work rose high 
with many a mound of earth, and high towers 
swayed above the sea. 

When Pompey saw his exit to the sea narrowed 
by new-made land, his mind was racked with distress 
and doubt how he might unbar the deep and spread 
his forces over the main. Again and again his 
vessels, driven along before the wind with straining 
cordage, passed right through the obstacle that 



Ipsa maris per claustra rates fastigia molis 

Discussere salo spatiumque dedere carinis, 685 

Tortaque per tenebras validis ballista lacertis 

Multifidas iaculata faces. Ut tempora tandem 

Furtivae placuere fugae, ne litora clamor 

Nauticus exagitet, neu bucina dividat horas, 

Neu tuba praemonitos perducat ad aequora nautas, 690 

Praecepit sociis. lam coeperat ultima Virgo 

Phoebum laturas ortu praecedere Chelas, 

Cum tacitas solvere rates. Non ancliora voces 

Movit, dum spissis avellitur uncus harenis ; 

Dum iuga curvantur mali dumque ardua pinus 695 

Erigitur, pavidi classis siluere magistri, 

Strictaque pendentes deducunt carbasa nautae 

Nee quatiunt validos, ne sibilet aura, rudentes. 

Dux etiam votis hoc te, Fortuna, precatur, 

Quam retinere vetas, liceat sibi perdere saltem 700 

Italiam. Vix fata sinunt ; nam murmure vasto 

Inpulsum rostris sonuit mare, fluctuat unda, 

Totque carinarum permixtis aequora sulcis 

Eruta fervescunt lilusque frementia pulsant.^ 

Ergo hostes portis, quas omnes solverat urbis 
Cum fato conversa fides, murisque recepti 705 

Praecipiti cursu flexi per cornua portus 
Ora petunt pelagusque dolent contingere classi. 
Heu pudor ! exigua est fugiens victoria Magnus. 

* The line in italics was inserted by Housinan. 

To8 ,!!)Ri!>do 9iii 


barred the sea and threw down the ends of the boom 
into the water, thus giving sea-room to the fleet ; 
often in the darkness of night, his machines, wound 
up by stalwart arms, launched a shower of cleft fire- 
brands. When at last he had fixed a day for secret 
flight, he gave orders to his men that no shouting 
of the crews should alarm the shore, that no signal 
should mark the watches, nor any trumpet forewarn 
the sailors and recall them to the fleet. Silently 
they loosed their vessels when the last part of the 
Virgin had begun to rise in front of the Scales, which 
at their rising would bring the sun with them. No 
shout was raised when the anchor-flukes were 
wrenched from the thick sand ; the captains of the 
fleet were anxious and silent, while the yards of the 
mast were bent and the tall mast itself Avas hoisted ; 
the sailors, dangling in the air, pulled down the 
furled sails without shaking the stout cordage, that 
the wind might not whistle through it. The leader 
even prays to Fortune, that she will suflfer him at 
least to abandon the Italy which she forbids him to 
retain. Fortune scarcely grants his request ; for the 
sea, smitten by the prows, gave forth a confused 
roaring, the waves rose, and the billows, churned up 
by the mingled wakes of so many hulls, boiled and 
raged as they struck the shore. 

Therefore the enemy, admitted within the walls 
and through the gates — for the loyalty of the citizens 
had changed sides together with fortune and thrown 
all the gates open — rushed in eager haste along the 
branching piers of the winding harbour towards its 
mouth, angry that the sea should be accessible to the 
ships. Shame on them that the flight of Magnus 
is not victory enough ! Narrow was the chaimel 



Angustus puppes mittebat in aequora limes 

Artior Euboica, quae Chalcida verberat, unda. 710 ^ 

Hie haesere rates geminae, classique paratae 

Excepere manus, tractoque in litora bello 

Hie primum rubuit civili sanguine Nereus. 

Cetera classis abit summis spoliata carinis : 

Ut, Pagasaea ratis peteret cum Phasidos undas, 111 

Cyaneas tellus emisit in aequora cautes ; 

Rapta puppe minor subducta est montibus Argo, 

Vanaque percussit pontum Symplegas inanem 

Et statura redit. lam Phoebum urguere monebat 

Non idem Eoi color aetheris, albaque nondum 72( 

Lux rubet et flammas propioribus eripit astris, 

Et iam Plias hebet, flexi iam plaustra Bootae 

In faciem puri redeunt languentia caeli, 

Maioresque latent stellae, calidumque refugit 

Lucifer ipse diem. Pelagus iam^ Magne, tenebas, 72i 

Non ea fata ferens, quae, cum super aequora toto 

Praedonem sequerere mari : lassata triumphis 

Descivit Fortuna tuis. Cum coniuge pulsus 

Et natis totosque trahens in bella penates 

Vadis adhuc ingens populis comitantibus exul. 73( 

Quaeritur indignae sedes longinqua ruinae. 

Non quia te superi patrio privare sepulchre 

Maluerint, Phariae busto damnantur harenae : 

Parcitur Hesperiae : procul hoc et in orbe remote 

Abscondat Fortuna nefas, Romanaque tellus 131 

Inmaculata sui servetur sanguine Magni. 

1 Another name for the Cyanean Rocks. 


that let the ships out to sea, narrower than the water 
of Euboea that beats on Chalcis. Here two ships 
ran aground and were taken by bands of soldiers 
lying in wait for the fleet. Then the fighting was 
transferred to the shore, and here the sea was first 
incarnadined with the blood of civil war. Robbed 
of its rearmost ships, the rest of the fleet put forth. 
So, when the Argo sailed from Thessaly to the river 
Phasis, earth launched forth the Cyanean Rocks 
upon the deep ; but the ship was rescued from the 
shock, though her stern was carried away : and the 
Clashing Rocks ^ struck the empty sea in vain, 
recoiled, and remained at rest for ever. And now the 
changing hue of the Eastern sky gave warning that 
the sun was near his rising ; and the ruddy light, not 
white as yet, stole their fire from the nearer stars ; 
now the Pleiads were growing dim, the wain of 
circling Bootes grew faint and merged into the 
indistinguishable aspect of the sky, the greater stars 
went out, and Lucifer himself fled before the heat of 
day. By this time Magnus had gained the open 
sea ; but the fortune which attended him when he 
hunted the pirates all over the deep was no longer 
his ; good luck, wearied out by his triumphs, now 
proved untrue. Driven forth with his wife and sons, 
taking his whole household with him to war, still 
mighty in banishment, he goes forth with nations in 
his train. Destiny is seeking a distant scene for the 
destruction of her innocent victim. The sands of 
Egypt are doomed to be his grave, not because the 
gods preferred to rob him of a tomb in his native 
land, but in mercy to Italy : let destiny hide that 
tragedy far away in a distant region, and let Roman 
soil be kept unstained by the blood of Rome's 
darling Magnus. 




VOL. 1 



Propulit ut classem velis cedentibus Auster 

Incumbens mediumque rates movere profundum, 

Omnis in lonios specta})at navita fluctus : 

Solus ab Hesperia non Hexit luraina terra 

Magnus, dum patrios portus, dum litora numquam 5 

Ad visus reditura suos tectumque eacumen 

Nubibus et dubios cernit vanescere montes. 

Inde soporifero cesserunt languida somno 

Membra duels ; diri turn plena horroris imago 

Visa caput maestum per hiantes lulia terras 10 

Tollere et accenso furialis stare sepulchre. 

" Sedibus Elysiis campoque expulsa piorum 

Ad Stygias " inquit " tenebras manesque nocentes 

Post bellum civile trahor. Vidi ipsa tenentes 

Eumenidas, quaterent quas vestris lampadas armis ; 16 

Praeparat innumeras puppes Acherontis adusti 

Portitor ; in multas laxantur Tartara poenas ; 

Vix operi cunctae dextra properante sorores 

Sufficiuntj lassant rumpentes stamina Parcas. 

Coniuge me laetos duxisti^ Magne, triumphos : 20 

Fortuna est mutata toris, semperque potentes 

Detrahere in cladem fato damnata maritos 

^ The river-banks are scorched. 

BOOK 111 

When the wind bore down on the yielding sails 
and drove the fleet forward till the ships ploughed 
the open sea, all the sailors looked ahead over the 
Ionian waves. Magnus alone never took his eyes 
off the land of Italy until the harbours of his 
country, with the shore he was never to see again 
and the cloud-veiled hill-tops and mountains, grew 
dim before his eyes and disappeared. His wearied 
frame then yielded to drowsy sleep, and straight he 
saw a dream : Julia, a spectre full of dread and 
menace, raised her sorrowful head above the yawn- 
ing earth and stood in the guise of a Fury amid the 
flames of her funeral pyre. And thus she spoke : 
" Now that civil war lias begun, driven forth from 
the Elysian Fields and abode of the blest, I am 
dragged to Stygian darkness and the place of guilty 
spirits. There I saw with these eyes the Furies, 
and in their hands were torches, to brandish for 
kindling the strife between you ; the ferryman of 
scorched Acheron ^ is getting ready countless boats ; 
Tartarus is making wide its borders for the punish- 
ment of many sinners ; all three Parcae, though 
their hands are busy, are scarce equal to their task, 
and the Sisters are weary of breaking the threads. 
NV'hile I was your wife, Magnus, you celebrated 
joyful triumphs. But your fortune changed with 
your bride : my rival, Cornelia, condemned by Fate 
ever to drag down her husbands from power to 


[nnupsit tepido paelex Cornelia busto. , 

Haereat ilia tuis per bella, per aequora, signis, ' 

Dum non secures liceat mihi rumpere somnos 26 

Kt nullum vestro vacuum sit tempus amori, 

Sed teneat Caesarque dies et lulia noctes. 

Me non Lethaeae, coniunx, oblivia ripae 

Inmemorem fecere tui, regesque silentum 

Permisere sequi. V^eniam te bella gerente 30 

In medias acies. Numquam tibi, Magne, per umbras 

Perque meos manes genero non esse licebit ; 

Abscidis frustra ferro tua pignora : bellum 

Te faciei civile meum." Sic fata refugit 

Umbra per amplexus trepidi dilapsa mariti. 35 

Ille, dei quamvis cladem manesque minentur, 
Maior in arma ruit certa cum mente malorum 
Et "• quid " ait " vani terremur imagine visus ? 
Aut nihil est sensus animis a morte relictum 
Aut mors ipsa nihil." Titan iam pronus in undas 40 
Ibat et igniferi tantum demerserat orbis, 
Quantum desse solet lunae, seu plena futura est, 
Seu iam plena fuit : tunc obtulit hospita tellus 
Puppibus accessus faciles ; lege re rudentes 
Et posito remis petierunt litora malo. 46 

Caesar, ut emissas venti rapuere carinas, 
Absconditque fretum classes, et litore solus 
Dux stetit Hesperio, non ilium gloria pulsi 
Laetificat Magni : queritur, quod tuta per aequor 
Terga ferant hostes. Neque enim iam sufficit ulla 60 

^ Cornelia had been the wife of P. Crassus, who fell ^vith his 
father at Carrhae. 

'^ I e. you will die. 

^ If sensation is lost, the vision is a mere delusion ; and, if 
sensation remains, death is not dreadful. 



destruction,^ supplanted me ere my pyre was cold. 
She is welcome to cling to your standards on land 
and sea, if only I have power to trouble and disturb 
your slumbers, and if no time is left free for love 
between you, while Caesar takes up your days and 
Julia your nights. Not even the forgetful shore 
of Lethe has banished my husband from my memory, 
and I am permitted by the Rulers of the dead to 
haunt you. When you fight battles, I shall appear 
in the centre of the fray : never shall my shade, my 
ghost, suffer you to forget that you were husband 
to Caesar's daughter. In vain you sever with the 
sword the tie of kinship that binds you. The civil 
war shall make you mine." ^ Thus speaking, the 
ghost fled away, dissolving in the arms of her eager 

Though threatened with disaster by the gods and 
by the dead, Pompey rushed more eagerly to arms 
with a mind made up for calamity. " Why," said 
he, "am I terrified by the sight of a meaningless 
spectre ? Either no feeling remains to the soul 
after death, or death itself matters not at all." ^ 
The sun was now sinking towards the sea, and had 
dipped as much of his flaming disk as the moon is 
wont to lose just before she is at the full or just 
after; and now a friendly land offered the ships an 
easy approach ; the men hauled in the stays, laid 
the masts along, and rowed ashore. 

When the wind snatched the vessels away from 
Caesar's grasp and the sea concealed the fleet, he 
stood on the Italian shore, a leader without a rival ; 
yet he felt no joy in the glory of driving Magnus 
out, but only vexation that the enemy had fled 
safely over the deep. No success could any longer 



Praecipiti fortuna viro, nee vincere tanti, 
Ut bellum difFerret, erat. Turn pectore euras 
Expulit armorum pacique intentus agebat, 
Quoque modo vanos populi eoneiret amores, 
Gnarus et irarum causas et summa favoris 
Annona momenta trahi. Namque adserit urbes 
Sola famesj emiturque metus, cum segne potentes 
Volgus alunt : nescit plebes ieiuna timere. 
Curio Sicanias transcendere iussus in urbes. 
Qua mare tellurem subitis aut obruit undis 
Aut scidit, et medias fecit sibi litora terras ; 
Vis illic ingens pelagi, semperque laborant 
Aequora, ne rupti repetant confinia montes. 
Bellaque Sardoas etiam sparguntur in oras. 
Utraque frugiferis est insula nobilis arvis ; 
Nee prius Hesperiam longinquis messibus ullae 
Nee Romana magis conplerunt horrea terrae. 
Ubere vix glaebae superat, cessantibus Austris, 
Cum medium nubes Borea cogente sub axem 
Effusis magnum Libye tulit imbribus annum. 

Haec ubi sunt provisa duci, tunc agmina victor 
Non armata trahens sed pacis habentia voltum, 
Tecta petit patriae. Pro, si remeasset in urbem, 
Gallorum tantum populis Arctoque subacta, 
Quam seriem rerum longa praemittere pompa, 
Quas potuit belli facies ! ut vincula Rheno 
Oceanoque daret, celsos ut Gallia currus 
Nobilis et flavis sequeretur mixta Britannis. 

* His bridge over the Rhine is meant. 


satisfy his impetuous haste ; even victory in the 
war was not worth the price of delay. At once he 
banished thoughts of battle from his mind, and passed 
his time over problems of peace and the means of 
winning the fickle favour of the populace ; for he 
knew that the causes of hatred and mainsprings 
of popularity are determined by the price of food. 
Hunger alone makes cities free ; and when men in 
power feed the idle mob, they buy subservience ; a 
starving people is incapable of fear. He bade Curio 
cross over to the cities of Sicily, by the way where 
the sea either covered the land with sudden inunda- 
tion or severed it and turned to shore what had once 
been inland ; mighty there is the working of the 
sea, and its waters ever strive to prevent the severed 
mountains from renewing their contact. Other 
troops were detached for the borders of Sardinia. 
Both islands are famous for their harvest-fields : no 
foreign lands supplied Italy and the granaries of 
Rome earlier than these or more abundantly. In 
fertility of soil Africa hardly excels them, even 
when the South winds lag and the North wind 
drives the clouds to the torrid zone, and the rains 
pour down to produce a mighty harvest. 

When he had taken these precautions, the 
victorious general led his troops, unarmed and 
wearing the aspect of peace, to the city of his birth. 
Ah ! if he had conquered only the North and the 
tribes of Gaul before returning to Rome, what a 
line of exploits, what scenes of war, he might have 
sent before him in long procession through the 
city ! — the fetters he had laid upon the Rhine ^ and 
the Ocean, his lofty chariot followed by noble Gauls 
together with fair-haired Britons ! How grand a 



Perdidit o qualem vincendo plura triumphum I 

Non ilium laetis vadentem coetibus urbes 80 

Sed tacitae videre metu, nee constitit usquam 

Obvia turba duel. Gaudet tamen esse timori 

Tam magno populis et se non mallet amari. 

lamque et praecipites superaverat Anxuris arces, 
Et qua Pomptinas via dividit uda paludes, 86 

Qua sublime nemus^ Scythicae qua regna Dianae, 
Quaque iter est Latiis ad sumraam fascibus Albam ; 
Excelsa de rupe procul iam conspicit urbem 
Arctoi toto non visam tempore belli 
Miratusque suae sic fatur moenia Romae : 90 

" Tene, deum sedes, non ullo Marte coacti 
Deseruere viri ? pro qua pugnabitur urbe? 
Di melius, quod non Latias Eous in oras 
Nunc furor incubuit nee iuncto Sarmata velox 
Pannonio Dacisque Getes admixtus : habenti 95 

Tam pavidum tibi, Roma, diicem fortuna pepercit, 
Quod bellum civile fuit." Sic fatur et urbem 
Attonitam terrore subit. Namque ignibus atris 
Creditur, ut captae, rapturus moenia Romae 
Sparsurasque deos. Fuit haec mensura timoris : 100 
Velle putant quodcumque potest. Non omina festa, 
Non fictas laeto voces simulare tumultu, 
Vix odisse vacat. Phoebea Palatia conplet 
Turba patrum nullo cogendi iure senatus 

* At the Latin festival ( feriae Latinae). 


triumph he lost by adding to his conquests ! No 
joyful throngs from the cities met him on his 
march ; but men looked on with silent fear ; no 
crowd anywhere gathered to meet him. But he was 
glad to be so dreaded by his countrymen and would 
not have preferred their love. 

Now he had passed the heights of Anxur on its 
crag, and the spot where a miry way cleaves the 
Pomptine marshes ; he had passed the hilly grove 
and temple where Scythian Diana reigns, and the 
place where the Roman consuls ascend Alba's 
height.' At last from a high cliff he caught a 
distant view of Rome. Never had he seen it 
through all the time of his wars in the North, and 
now he gazed in wonder and thus addressed the walls 
of Rome, his mother city : " Were you, the abode of 
gods, abandoned by men whom no stress of war com- 
pelled ? What city then will find arms to strike a 
blow for her.'' Heaven be thanked that the furious 
East — swift Sarmatians allied with Pannonians, and 
Getae combined with Dacians — did not choose this 
time to fall on the borders of Italy ! It was a 
mercy of Fortune that Rome, with so faint-hearted 
a leader, had to fight against Romans only." — With 
these words he entered a city paralysed with fear. 
For men believed that, as if he had taken Rome, 
he would destroy the walls with smoky fires and 
hurl her gods hither and thither. The measure 
of their fears was this : they deemed that his will 
was equal to his power. Their minds are not free 
to feign words of good omen or to make pretence 
of rejoicing with mirthful shouts ; and scarcely free 
p to utter curses. Authority to summon the Senate 
was wanting ; but a mob of senators, brought out 



E latebris educta suis ; non consule sacrae 105 

Fulserunt sedes, non, proxima lege potestas, 

Praetor adest, vacuaeque loco cessere curules. 

Omnia Caesar erat ; privatae curia vocis 

Testis adest. Sedere patres censere parati, 

Si regnum, si templa sibi iugulumque senatus 110 

Exiliumque petat. Melius, quod plura iubere 

Erubuit, quam Roma pati. Taraen exit in iram, 

Viribus an possint obsistere iura, per unum 

Libertas experta virum ; pugnaxque Metellus, 

Ut videt ingenti Saturnia templa revelli 116 

Mole, rapit gressus et Caesans agmina rumpens 

Ante fores nondum reseratae constitit aedis, 

— Usque adeo solus ferrum mortem que timere 

Auri nescit amor. Pereunt discrimine nullo 

Amissae leges, sed, pars vilissima rerum, 120 

Certamen movistis, opes — prohibensque rapina 

Victorem clara testatur voce tribunus : 

" Non nisi per nostrum vobis percussa patebunt 

Templa latus, nuUasque feres nisi sanguine sacro 

Sparsas, raptor, opes. Certe violata potestas 125 

Invenit ista deos ; Crassumque in bella secutae 

Saeva tribuniciae voverunt proelia dirae. 

Detege iam ferrum ; neque enim tibi turba verenda est 

Spectatrix scelerum : deserta stamus in urbe. 

* This temple was used as the treasury. 

* The person of the tribunes was sacred ; yet some of the 
noblest among them were murdered by political opponents. 

* Crassus was formally cursed by a tribune in November, 
55 B.C., when he left Rome for his Parthian campaign. 



from their hiding-places, filled the temple of 
Apollo on the Palatine ; the splendour of the consuls 
was absent from their sacred seats ; the praetors, 
by law next in office^ were not in attendance, and 
the empty chairs of office were removed from their 
places. Caesar was all in all, and the Senate met 
to register the utterance of a private man. Should 
he demand kingly power and divine honours for 
himself, or execution and exile for the Senate, 
the assembled Fathers were ready to give their 
sanction. Fortunately, there were more things that 
he was ashamed to decree than Romans were 
ashamed to allow. Nevertheless, Freedom did break 
out in wrath and tried, in the person of one 
man, whether right could resist might. Stubborn 
Metellus, when he saw main force used to burst 
open the temple of Saturn,^ hurried thither, broke 
through the ranks of Caesar's soldiers, and took his 
stand at the gates before the locks were broken. 
(So true it is that love of money alone is incapable 
of dreading death by the sword. When the con- 
stitution was lost and destroyed, it made no 
difference ; but money, the meanest thing of all, 
stirred up strife.) Loudly the tribune protested, 
striving to restrain the conqueror from robbery : 
** Never, except over my body, shall the temple be 
opened to your assault ; no wealth, unless sprinkled 
with sacred blood, 2 shall you win by robbery. It is 
certain that violence done to this office finds gods 
to avenge it ; for the curses of the tribune, which 
imprecated defeat upon Crassus, followed Crassus 
to the battlefield. 3 Draw your sword at once ; 
you need not fear a crowd to witness the crime — 
the city in which we stand has been abandoned by 



Non feret e nostro sceleratus praeraia miles : 130 

Sunt, quos prosternas, populi, quae moenia dones. 
Pacis ad exutae ^ spolium non cogit egestas : 
Bellum, Caesar, habes." His magnam victor in iram 
Vocibus accensus : '' Vanam spem mortis honestae 
Concipis : baud " inquit ^^ iugulo se polluet isto 135 

Nostra, Metelle, manus ; dignum te Caesaris ira 
Nullus honor faciet. Te vindice tuta relicta est 
Libertas ? non usque adeo permiscuit imis 
Longus summa dies, ut non, si voce Metelli 
Servantur leges, malint a Caesare tolli." 140 

Dixerat, et nondum foribus cedente tribune 
Acrior ira subit : saevos circumspicit enses 
Oblitus simulare togam; cum^ Cotta Metellum 
Conpulit audaci nimium desistere coepto. 
"Libertas" inquit " populi, quern regna coercent, 145 
Libertate perit ; cuius servaveris umbram. 
Si, quidquid iubeare, velis. Tot rebus iniquis 
Paruimus victi ; venia est haec sola pudoris 
Degenerisque metus, nullam potuisse negari. 
Ocius avertat diri mala semina belli. 150l 

Damna movent populos, si quos sua iura tuentur : 
Non sibi, sed domino gravis est, quae servit, egestas/ 
Protinus abducto patuerunt templa Metello. 
Tunc rupes Tarpeia sonat magnoque reclusas 
Testatur stridore fores ; turn conditus imo 155] 

^ exutae Heinsius: exustae and exhaustae MSS, 
2 cum Benthy : turn MSS. 



its people. Your soldiers shall not be paid for their 
wickedness out of our wealth ; there are other nations 
for you to overthrow, other cities for you to hand 
over to them. No poverty forces you to the spolia- 
tion of the peace you have cast aside : you have 
war to enrich you." His words fired the conqueror 
with high indignation. " In vain, Metellus," he 
cried, "you hope for a glorious death: never shall 
my hand be stained by your blood. No office 
shall make you worthy of my wrath. Are you 
the champion in whose charge freedom has been 
left for safety ? The course of time has not wrought 
such confusion that the laws would not rather be 
trampled on by Caesar than saved by Metellus." 

Thus Caesar spoke ; and when the tribune still 
refused to leave the doors, his anger grew fiercer, 
and he looked round for his ruthless swords, for- 
getting to act the part of peace. But Metellus 
was forced by Cotta to renounce his too bold design. 
" When a people is held down by tyranny," said 
Cotta, " freedom is destroyed by freedom of speech ; 
but you keep the semblance of freedom if you 
acquiesce in each behest of the tyrant. Because we 
^ were conquered, we submitted to repeated acts of 
oppression ; for our disgrace and ignoble fear there 
is but one excuse — that refusal was in no case 
possible. Let Caesar with all speed carry off the 
baneful germs of cursed warfare. Loss of money 
touches nations that are protected by their own 
laws ; but the poverty of slaves is felt by their 
master, not by themselves." Metellus was drawn 
aside and the temple at once thrown open. Then 
the Tarpeian rock re-echoed, and loud grating bore 
witness to the opening of the doors ; then was 



Rriiitur templo miiltis non tactus ab annis 
Romani census populi, quem Punica bella. 
Quern dederat Perses, quem victi praeda Philippi, 
Quod tibi, Roma, fuga Gallus ^ trepidante reliquit^, 
Quo te Fabricius regi non vendidit auro, 160 

Quidquid parcorum mores servastis avorum. 
Quod dites Asiae populi misere tributum 
Victorique dedit Minoia Creta Metello, 
Quod Cato longinqua vexit super aequora Cypro. 
Tunc Orientis opes captorumque ultima reguin 166 

Quae Pompeianis praelata est gaza triumphis, 
Egeritur ; tristi spoliantur templa rapina, 
Pauperiorque fuit tunc primum Caesare Roma. 

Interea totum Magni fortuna per orbem 
Secum casuras in proelia moverat urbes. 170 

Proxima vicino vires dat Graecia bello. 
Phocaicas Amphissa manus scopulosaque Cirrha 
Parnasosque iugo misit desertus utroque. 
Boeoti coiere duces, quos inpiger ambit 
Fatidica Cephisos aqua Cadmeaque Dirce, 175 

Pisaeaeque manus populisque per aequora mittens 
Sicaniis Alpheos aquas. Turn Maenala liquit 
Areas et Herculeam miles Trachinius Octen. 
Thesproti Dryopesque ruunt, quercusque silentes 
Chaonio veteres liquerunt vertice Selloe. 180 

Exhausit totas quamvis dilectus Athenas, 
Exiguae Phoebea tenent navalia puppes, 

* Gallus Housman : Pyrrhus MS8, 

* BrcnnuR. ^ Pyrrhus. 

3 It often happened later, notably under Augustus, that the 
State was poorer than its ruler. 

* The oracle of Dodona had been destroyed. 

^ ApoUonia, a harbour in Epirus, was occupied by some of 
Pompey's ships. 


brought forth the wealth of the Roman people, 
stored in the temple vaults and untouched for many 
a year — treasure from the Punic wars and Parses, 
and the spoil of conquered Philip ; the gold that 
the Gaul^ in his hasty flight forfeited to Rome, 
and the gold that could not bribe Fabricius to 
sell Rome to the king 2 ; all that the thrift of our 
ancestors saved up ; all the tribute paid by the 
wealthy nations of Asia, and all that was handed over 
to conquering Metellus by Minoan Crete ; and the 
store that Cato brought across the sea from distant 
Cyprus. Lastly, the riches of the East were brought 
to light, the far-fetched treasure of captive kings 
that was borne along in Pompey's triumph. Dismal 
was the deed of plunder that robbed the temple ; 
and then for the first time Rome was poorer than a 
Caesar. 8 

Meanwhile over all the earth the reputation of 
Magnus had brought forth to battle nations doomed 
to share his fall. Greece, the nearest country, sent 
soldiers for her neighbour's war. From Phocis, Am- 
phissa sent her men, and rocky Cirrha ; and both 
peaks of Parnassus were abandoned. The leaders 
of Boeotia ' assembled, men whom swift Cephisus 
surrounds with its oracular stream and Cadmean 
Dirce ; there were men from Pisa and the Alpheus 
which transmits its waters under the sea to the 
people of Sicily. Maenalus also was left behind by 
the Arcadians, and Oeta of Hercules by the soldiers 
of Trachis. Thesprotians and Dryopes rush to war, 
and the ancient Selloi left their silent oaks * on the 
hill of Chaonia. Though Athens was drained of all 
her men by the levy, few were her vessels that 
reached the harbour of Apollo,^ and but three keels 



Tresque petunt veram credi SaLamina carinae. 

lam dilecta lovi centenis venit in arma 

Creta vetus populis Giiososque agitare pharetras 185 

Docta nee Eois peior Gortyna sagittis. 

Tunc qui Dardaniam tenet Oricon et vagus altis 

Dispersus silvis Athaman et nomine prisco 

Encheliae versi testantes funera Cadmi, 

Colchis et Hadriaca spumans Absyrtos in unda ; 190 

Penei qui rura colunt, quorumque labore 

Thessalus Haemoniam vomer proscindit lolcon. 

(Inde lacessitum primo mare, cum rudis Argo 

Miscuit ignotas temerato litore gentes 

Primaque cum ventis pelagique furentibus undis 195 

Conposuit mortale genus, fatisque per illam 

Accessit mors una ratem.) Tum linquitur Haemus 

Thracius et populum Pholoe mentita biformem. 

Deseritur Strymon tepido committere Nile 

Bistonias consuetus aves et barbara Cone, 200 

Sarmaticas ubi perdit aquas sparsamque ])rofundo 

Multifidi Peucen unum caput adluit Histri, 

Mysiaque et gelido tellus perfusa Caico 

Idalis et nimium glaebis exilis Arisbe ; 

Quique colunt Pitanen et, quae tua munera, Pallas, 205 

Lugent damnatae Plioebo victore Celaenae, 

Qua celer et rectis descendens Marsya ripis 

Errantem Maeandron adit mixtusque refertur, 

Passaque ab auriferis tellus exire metallis 

^ He was changed into a snake : eyx^Avs is properly " an eel." 

'-^ The Centaurs, who united the head and arms of a man to 
the body of a horse. 

^ The cranes from Thrace. 

* Pallas invented the flute and then threw it away. The 
Satyr Marsyas of Celaenae picked it up and challenged Apollo 
to a match ; he was defeated and liayed by his rival. 



claim credence for the tale of Salamis. Next to 
join the fray was Crete, the ancient island of a 
hundred peoples, a land dear to Zeus, with Gnosos 
skilled to ply the bow, and Gortyna rivalling the 
Parthian archers. These were followed by the men 
who dwell in Trojan Oricos, the Athamanes who 
rove scattered in mountain forests, and the Encheliae, 
whose ancient name testifies to the death and trans- 
formation of Cadmus.^ Colchian Absyrtos that foams 
in the Adriatic sea came also, and the men who till 
the fields about Peneus, and those by whose toil 
Thessalian ploughs turn up the soil of Haemonian 
lolcos. (From lolcos the sea was first challenged, 
when the untried Argo scorned the shore and 
brought together nations that before were strangers ; 
she first matched mankind against the raging winds 
and waves of ocean, and by her means a new form 
of death was added to the old.) Next, Mount 
Haemus in Thrace was abandoned, and Pholoe with 
its false legend of a twy-formed people. ^ Strymon 
was left deserted — Strymon that each year entrusts 
to the warm Nile the birds of Bistonia ; ^ and rude 
Cone, where one mouth of the branching Danube 
loses its Sarmatian waters and washes Peuce sprinkled 
by the sea. Mysia was deserted, and the land of 
Idalus, saturated with the cold waters of Caicus, 
and Arisbe, whose soil is all too shallow. The 
people of Pitane assembled, and of Celaenae that 
mourns the invention of Pallas^Celaenae con- 
demned when Apollo won the match;* in that land 
the Marsya, running swiftly down in straight channel, 
joins the winding Maeander and turns back after 
their union ; and there earth has suffered Pactolus 
to issue forth from mines rich in gold, and Hermus, 



Pactolon, qua culta secat non vilior Hermus. 210 

Iliacae quoque signa manus perituraque castra 
Ominibus petiere suis, nee fabula Troiae 
Continuit Phrygiique ferens se Caesar luli. 
Accedunt Syriae populi : desertus Orontes 
Et felix, sic fama, Ninos, ventosa Damascos 216 

Gazaque et arbusto palmarum dives Idume 
Et Tyros instabilis pretiosaque murice Sidon. 
Has ad bella rates non flexo limite ponti 
Certior baud ullis duxit Cynosura carinis. 
(Phoenices primi, famae si creditur, ausi 220 

Mansuram rudibus vocem signare figuris : 
Nondum flumineas Memphis contexere biblos 
Noverat, et saxis tantum volucresque feraeque 
Sculptaque servabant magicas animalia linguas). 
Deseritur Taurique nemus Perseaque Tarsos 225 

Coryciumque patens exesis rupibus antrum ; 
Mallos et extremae resonant navalibus Aegae, 
Itque Cilix iusta, iam non pirata, carina. 
Movit et Eoos bellorum fama recessus. 
Qua colitur Ganges, toto qui solus in orbe 230 

Ostia nascenti contraria solvere Phoebo 
Audet et adversum fluctus inpellit in Eurum, 
Hie ubi Pellaeus post Tethyos aequora ductor 
Constitit et magno vinci se fassus ab orbe est ; 
Quaque ferens rapidum diviso gurgite fontem 235 

Vastis Indus aquis mixtum non sentit Hydaspen ; 

^ Tyre was notorious for earthquakes. Ninos (Nineveh) had 
long been destroyed. 
* To make papyrus. 
' In point of fact Alexander never reached the Ganges. 



rich as Pactolus, cleaves the corn-lands. The soldiers 
of Ilium also, ever ill-fated, joined the standards of 
the doomed army, undeterred by the tale of Troy 
or the pretended descent of Caesar from Trojan 
lulus. The nations of Syria came also, leaving be- 
hind the Orontes, and Ninos of whose prosperity 
legend tells ; they left wind-swept Damascus, Gaza, 
Idume rich in palm-plantations, tottering Tyre,^ and 
Sidon precious for its purple. Their ships were 
steered to war by the pole-star and kept an un- 
erring course over the sea : to no ships is the pole- 
star a more trusty guide than to them. (These 
Phoenicians first made bold, if report speak true, 
to record speech in rude characters for future ages, 
before Egypt had learned to fasten together the 
reeds of her river,^ and when only the figures of 
birds, beasts, and other animals, carved in stone, 
preserved the utterances of her wise men.) Men 
left the woods of Taurus, and Tarsos where Perseus 
alighted, and the Corycian cave that yawns with 
hollowed rocks. Mallos and distant Aegae are filled 
with the noise of their dockyards ; and the Cilicians, 
no longer pirates, put forth in regular ships of war. 
The news of war roused also the distant parts of 
the East, where Ganges and its peoples are — Ganges, 
the one river on earth that dares to unlock its 
mouths opposite the rising sun and drives its flood 
forward in the teeth of the East wind ; here it was 
that the Macedonian captain ^ halted, with the outer 
Ocean in front of him, and confessed that he was 
beaten by the vastness of the world. Roused was 
the land where the Indus, bearing along its swift 
stream with two-fold flood, is unchanged by the 
addition of the Hydaspes to its waste of waters. 



Quiqiie bibunt tenera dulces ab harundine sucos, 

Et qui tinguentes croceo niedicamine crinem 

Fluxa coloratis astringunt carbasa gemmis, 

Quique suas struxere pyras vivique calentes 240 

Conscendere rogos. Pro, quanta est gloria genti 

Iniecisse nianum fatis vitaque repletos 

Quod superest donasse deis ! Venere feroces 

Cappadoces, duri populus non cultor Amani, 

Armeniusque tenens volventem saxa Niphaten. 245 

Aethera tangentes silvas liquere Choatrae. 

Ignotum vobis, Arabes, venistis in orbem 

Umbras mirati nemorum non ire sinistras. 

Turn furor extremos movit Romanus Orestas 

Carmanosque duces (quorum iam flexus in Austrum 250 

Aether non totani mergi tamen aspicit Arcton ; 

Lucet et exigua velox ibi nocte Bootes), 

Aethiopumque solum, quod non premeretur ab ulla 

Signiferi regione poii, nisi poplite lapso 

Ultima curvati procederet ungula Tauri ; 255 

Quaque caput rapido tollit cum Tigride magnus 

Euphrates, quos non diversis fontibus edit 

Persis, et incertum, tellus si misceat amnes, 

Quod potius sit nomen aquis. Sed sparsus in agros 

Fertilis Euphrates Phariae vice fungitur undae ; 2G0 

At Tigrim subito tellus absorbet hiatu 

Occultosque tegit cursus rursusque renatum 

Fonte novo flumen pelagi non abnegat undis. 

Inter Caesareas acies diversaque signa 

^ The sugar-cane is meant. * I.e., to the South. 

' See Housman, p. 327 : the translation given liere follows his. 



Up rose the men who drink sweet juices from soft 
reeds ; ^ and those who colour their hair with saffron 
dye and loop up their robes of cotton with bright- 
Imed gems; and those who build pyres for them- 
selves and climb, while yet alive, upon the burning 
heap. How glorious for a people to lay violent 
hands on death, and, when satiated with life, to 
refuse the remnant of it from the gods ! The savage 
Cappadocians came ; and the men who find the soil 
of Mount Amanus too hard to till ; and the Ar- 
menians, who dwell where the Niphates rolls along 
boulders in its course. The Choatrae abandoned 
their forests that reach the sky; the Arabs entered 
a world unknown to them, and marvelled that the 
shadows of the trees did not fall to the left.^ The 
remote Orestae too were disturbed by the madness 
of Rome, and the chiefs of Carmania — where the 
sky, beginning to incline southwards, sees part at 
least of the Bear sink below the horizon, and where 
Bootes, swift to set, is visible only for a short portion 
of the night — and the land of Aethiopia, which would 
not be covered by any part of the Zodiac, did not 
the leg of hunched-up Taurus give way and the tip 
of his hoof project ;^ and the land where the mighty 
Euphrates and rushing Tigris uplift their heads. 
They rise in Persia from springs not far apart ; and, 
if earth suffered them to meet, who can say which 
of the names the waters would bear? But the 
Euphrates, diffused over the land, fertilises it as the 
Nile fertilises Egypt ; whereas the Tigris is suddenly 
swallowed up by a chasm in the earth, which hides 
its course from the eye, but then gives birth to it 
again from a new source and suffers the river to 
reach the sea. The warlike Parthians remained 



Pugnaces dubium Parthi tenuere favorem, 265 

Contenti fecisse duos. Tinxere sagittas 

Errantes Scythiae populi, quos gurgite Bactros 

Includit gelido vastisque Hyrcania silvis. 

Hinc Lacedaemonii, moto gens aspera freno, 

Heniochi saevisque adfinis Sarmata Moschis ; 270 

Colchorum qua rura secat ditissima Phasis, 

Qua Croeso fatalis Halys, qua vertice lapsus 

Riphaeo Tanais diversi nomina mundi 

Inposuit ripis Asiaeque et terminus idem 

Europae, mediae dirimens confinia terrae, 276 

Nunc hunc, nunc ilium, qua flectitur, ampliat orbem ; 

Quaque, fretum torrens, Maeotidos egerit undas 

Pontus, et Herculeis aufertur gloria metis, 

Oceanumque negant solas admittere Gades. 

Hinc Essedoniae gentes auroque ligatas 280 

Substringens, Arimaspe, comas ; hinc fortis Arius 

Longaque Sarmatici solvens ieiunia belli 

Massagetes, quo fugit, equo volucresque Geloni. 

Non, cum Memnoniis deducens agmina regnis 

Cyrus et effusis numerato milite talis 286 

Descendit Perses, fraternique ultor amoris 

Aequora cum tantis percussit classibus, unum 

Tot reges habuere ducem, coiere nee umquam 

Tam variae cyltu gentes, tam dissona volgi 

* By killing Crassus, the third member of the triumvirate. 

^ The Sea of Azov (Palus Maeotis) was supposed to have an 
outlet to the Arctic Ocean. 

3 Darts, one thrown by each man, were counted. 

* Agamemnon, who tpok vengeance for his brother Menelaus. 



neutral between the army of Caesar and the host 
opposed to him : it was enough for them that they 
had reduced the rivals to two.^ The nomad peoples 
of Scythia, bounded by the cold stream of Bactros 
and the endless forests of Hyrcania, dipped their 
arrows in poison. From one quarter came the 
Heniochi of Spartan blood, a dangerous people when 
they shake their bridles, and the Sarmatians, akin to 
the savage Moschi. Men came from the regions 
where the Phasis cleaves the rich land of the Col- 
chians, where flows the Halys that brought doom to 
Croesus, and where the Tanais, falling down from 
the Riphaean heights, gives the names of two worlds 
to its two banks, bounding Asia and Europe as 
well — it keeps the central part of earth from union, 
and, according to its windings, enlarges now one 
continent and now the other — and where the Euxine 
drains the rushing waters of the Maeotian Mere 
through the strait; and thus men deny that Gades 
alone lets in the Ocean ,2 and the Pillars of Hercules 
are robbed of their boast. From another quarter 
came the Essedonian tribes, the Arimaspians who 
loop up their hair bound with gold, the brave Arians, 
the Massagetae who break the long fast of battle 
with Sarmatians by bleeding the horse that bore 
them from the fight, and the fleet Geloni. Neither 
Cyrus, when he led his host from the land of morn- 
ing and the Persians came down with an army that 
was numbered by the casting of darts ,^ nor he that 
avenged his brother's wrong * — neither of these 
smote the sea with such mighty fleets; never did 
so many kings obey a single leader, never did 
nations meet so different in dress, never was there 
such a confusion of tongues. Fortune roused all 



Ora. Tot inmensae comites missura ruinae 290 

Excivit populos et dignas funere Magni 
Exequias fortuna dedit. Non corniger Hammon 
Mittere Marmaricas cessavit in arma catervas, 
Quidquid ab occiduis Libye patet arida Mauris 
Usque Paraetonias eoa ad litora Syrtes. 295 

Acciperet felix ne non semel omnia Caesar, 
Vincendum pariter Pharsalia praestitit orbem. 

Ille ubi deseruit trepidantis moenia Romae, 
Agmine nubiferam rapto super evolat Alpem, 
Cumque alii famae populi terrore paverent, 3u0 

Phocais in dubiis ausa est servare iuventus 
Non Graia levitate fidem signataque iura, 
Et causas, non fata, sequi. Tamen ante furorem 
Indomitum duramque viri deflectere mentem 
Pacifico sermone parant hostemque propinquum 305 

Orant Cecropiae praelata fronde Miner vae : 

"Semper in externis populo communia vestro 
Massiliam bellis testatur fata tulisse, 
Conprensa est Latiis quaecumque annalibus aetas. 
Et nunc, ignoto si quos petis orbe triumphos, 310 

Accipe devotas externa in proelia dextras. 
At, si funestas acies, si dira paratis 
Proelia discordes, lacrimas civilibus armis 
Secretumque damns. Tractentur volnera nulla 
Sacra manu. Si caelicolis furor arma dedisset, 315 

Aut si terrigenae temptarent astra gigantes, 
Non tamen auderet pietas humana vel armis 
Vel votis prodesse lovi, sortisque deorum 

1 Massilia (Marseilles) was founded by Greeks, emigrants 
from Phocaea in Asia Minor. 
' Olive-branches. 



those peoples, to send them as escort for measureless 
disaster, and provided them as a funeral train be- 
fitting the burial of Magnus. Nor was horned 
Ammon slow to send to battle African squadrons 
from the whole extent of parched Libya — from the 
Moors in the West to Egyptian Syrtes on the eastern 
coast. That Caesar, favoured by Fortune, might win 
all at a single cast, Pharsalia presented him the 
whole world to conquer at once. 

When Caesar left the walls of terrified Rome, he 
rushed with swift march over the cloud-capped Alps. 
Though other peoples cowered at the terror of his 
name, the Phocaean^ warriors, with steadfastness 
rare in Greeks, dared to be faithful in the hour of 
danger to their solemn compacts, and to follow the 
right rather than fortune. But first they tried by 
peaceable argument to turn aside the reckless rage 
and stern heart of Caesar ; and when the enemy 
drew near, they appealed to him thus, holding out 
before them the leaves ^ of Athenian Minerva : 

*^ Every age included in ItaHan history bears 
witness that Massilia has shared the fortunes of the 
Roman people in their foreign wars. And now too, 
if you seek triumphs in some unknown region, here 
at your service are our swords to fight against the 
foreigner. But if Romans are divided, and if you 
purpose ill-omened battles and accursed strife, then 
we offer tears for civil war, and we stand aside. No 
other hand should meddle with the wounds of gods. 
If frenzy had armed the immortals, or if the earth- 
born Giants assailed the sky, the piety of man, 
nevertheless, would shrink from aiding Jupiter either 
with arms or with prayers ; and the human race, 
ignorant of what was happening in heaven, would 



Ignarum mortale genus per fulmina tantum 

Sciret adhuc caelo solum regnare Tonantem. 320 

Adde, quod innumerae concurrunt undique gentes, 

Nee sic horret iners scelerum contagia mundus, 

Ut gladiis egeant civilia bella coactis. 

Sit mens ista quidem cunctis, ut vestra recusent 

Fata, nee haec alius committat proelia miles. 325 

Cui non conspecto languebit dextra parente 

Telaque diversi prohibebunt spargere fratres ? 

Finis adest scelerum,^ si non committitis ullis 

Arma, quibus fas est. Nobis haec summa precandi : 

Terribiles aquilas infestaque signa relinquas 330 

Urbe procul nostrisque velis te credere muris, 

Excludique sinas admisso Caesare bellum. 

Sit locus exceptus sceleri, Magnoque tibique 

Tutus, ut, invictae fatum si consulat urbi, 

Foedera si placeant, sit, quo veniatis inermes. 335 

Vel, cum tanta vocent discrimina Martis Hiberi, 

Quid rapidum deflectis iter ? non pondera rerimi 

Nee momenta sumus, numquam felicibus armis 

Usa manus, patriae primis a sedibus exul, 

Et post translatas exustae Phocidos arces 340 

Moenibus exiguis alieno in litore tuti, 

Inlustrat quos sola fides. Si claudere muros 

Obsidione paras et vi perfringere portas, 

Excepisse faces tectis et tela parati, 

Undarum raptos aversis fontibus haustus 345 

1 scelerum Schroder; rerum M88. 

1 That is, soldiers who are not Romans. 

2 By an error which is often repeated in the context, Phocis in 
Greece is confused with Phocaea in Asia. 



know only from his thunderbolts that the Thunderer 
still reigned in the sky without a rival. Moreover, 
countless nations are speeding to the fray from every 
quarter; nor is mankind so slow to fight, so averse 
to the contagion of crime, that civil war need compel 
recruits. We wish indeed that all men had this 
purpose — to refuse a share in Roman destiny, and 
that no foreign soldier should fight in your quarrel. 
What Roman arm will not be enfeebled by the sight 
of his father ? who will not be hindered from hurling 
his weapon when he sees his brothers in the ranks of 
the foe } The civil war will soon end, if you refrain 
from enlisting those whom alone it is lawful to 
enlist.^ For ourselves, this is the sum total of our 
petition : leave your dreaded eagles, your formidable 
j; standards, at a distance from our city, and be willing 
to trust yourself within our walls; permit us to 
let Caesar in and keep war out. Let there be one 
spot exempt from crime, safe for Magnus and safe 
for you. So, if Fortune is merciful to unconquered 
Rome and peace is resolved upon, you two will have 
a place where you can meet unarmed. Again, when 
you are summoned to Spain by so great a crisis of 
the war, why do you turn hither your hasty march } 
We have no weight in affairs, no power to turn the 
scale. Our people has never been victorious in war. 
Driven from the ancient seat of our nation, when 
Phocis^ was burnt down and her towers were removed, 
we dwell on a foreign shore and owe our safety to 
narrow walls ; and our only glory is our fidelity. If 
you intend to blockade our walls and break down 
our gates by storm, then we are ready : we shall 
receive firebrands and missiles upon our houses ; if 
you divert our springs, we shall dig for a hasty 


Quaerere et efFossam sitientes lambere terram, 

Et, desit si larga Ceres, tunc horrida cerni 

Foedaque contingi maculato attingere morsu. 

Nee pavet hie populus pro libertate subire, 

Obsessum Poeno gessit quae Marte Saguntum. 360 

Pectoribus rapti matrum frustraque trahentes 

Ubera sicca fame medios mittentur in ignes. 

Uxor et a caro poscet sibi fata marito, 

Volnera miscebunt fratres bellumque coacti 

Hoc potius civile gerent." Sic Graia iuventus 355 

Finierat, cum turbato iam prodita voltu 

Ira ducis tandem testata est voce dolorem : 

" Vana movet Graios nostri fiducia cursus. 
Quamvis Hesperium mundi properemus ad axem, 
Massiliam delere vacat. Gaudete, cohortes : 360 

Obvia praebentur fatorum munere bella. 
Ventus ut amittit vires, nisi robore densae 
Occurrunt silvae, spatio diffusus inani, 
Utque perit magnus nullis obstantibus ignis, 
Sic hostes mihi desse nocet, damnumque putamus 365 
Armorum, nisi qui vinci potuere rebellant. 
Sed si solus earn dimissis degener armis. 
Tunc mihi tecta patent. Iam non excludere tantum, 
Inclusisse volunt. At enim contagia belli 
Dira fugant. Dabitis poenas pro pace petita, 370 

Et nihil esse meo discetis tutius aevo 
Quam duce me bellum." Sic postquam fatus, ad urbem 

* 8aguntum in Spain claimed, like Massilia, to be of Greek 
origin. It was taken by Hannibal in 218 b.c. after a memorable 



draught of water and lick with parched tongues the 
earth we have dug; and, if bread run short, then 
we shall pollute our lips by gnawing things hideous 
to see and foul to touch. In defence of freedom we 
do not shrink from sufferings that were bravely borne 
by Saguntuni ^ when beset by the army of Carthage. 
Our infants, torn from their mothers' arms and 
tugging in vain at breasts dry with famine, shall be 
hurled into the midst of the flames ; wives shall 
seek death at the hands of loved husbands ; brother 
shall exchange wounds with brother, and shall 
choose, if driven to it, that form of civil war." Thus 
tiie Greeks ended speaking, and Caesar's wrath, 
betrayed already by his clouded countenance, at last 
proved his resentment by s])okcn word : 
" '* These Greeks trust to my haste, but their trust 
is vain ; though I am hastening to the western 
region of the world, I have time to destroy Massilia. 
Rejoice, my soldiers ! By favour of destiny war is 
offered you in the course of your march. As a gale, 
unless it meets with thick-timbered forests, loses 
strength and is scattered through empty space, and 
as a great fire sinks when there is nothing in its way 
— so the absence of a foe is destructive to me, and I 
think my arms wasted if those who might have been 
conquered fail to fight against me. They say that 
their city is open to me if I disband my army and 
enter alone and degraded. Their real purpose is 
not merely to keep me out, but to shut me in. They 
say that they seek to drive away the horrid taint of 
war. They shall suffer for seeking peace ; they shall 
learn that in my days none are safe but those who 
fight under my banner." With these words he 
turned his march against the citizens who feared 



Haud trepidam convertit iter ; cum moenia clausa 
Conspicit et densa iuvenum vallata corona. 

Haud procul a muris tumulus surgentis in altum 375 
Telluris parvum difFuso vertice campum 
Explicat ; haec patiens longo munimine cingi 
Visa duci rupes titisque aptissima castris. 
Proxima pars urbis celsam consurgit in arcem 
Par tumulo, mediisque sedent convallibus arva. »80 

Tunc res inmenso placuit statura labore, 
Aggere diversos vasto committere colles. 
Sed prius, ut totam, qua terra cingitur, urbem 
Clauderet, a summis perduxit ad aequora castris 
Longum Caesar opus, fontesque et pabula campi 385 
Amplexus fossa densas tollentia pinnas 
Caespitibus crudaque extruxit bracchia terra. 

lam satis hoc Graiae memorandum contigit urbi 
Aeternumque decus, quod non inpulsa nee ipso 
Strata metu tenuit flagrantis in omnia belli 390 

Praecipitem cursum, raptisque a Caesare cunctis 
Vincitur una mora. Quantum est, quod fata tenentur, 
Quodque virum toti properans inponere mundo 
Hos perdit Fortuna dies ! Tunc omnia late 
Procumbunt nemora et spoliantur robore silvae, 396 

Ut, cum terra levis mediam virgultaque molem 
Suspendant, struct a laterum conpage ligatam 
Artet humum, pressus ne cedat turribus agger. 

Lucus erat longo numquam violatus ab aevo, 
Obscurum cingens conexis aera ramis 400 



him not ; and then he saw the walls closed and 
fenced with a crowded ring of warriors. 

Not far from the walls a hill rose above the 
level land and expanded into a small plain at its 
flattened top. This height seemed to Caesar capable 
of being surrounded by a line of fortifications, and a 
safe site to pitch his camp. The nearest part of the 
town rises in a lofty citadel as high as the hill 
outside, and the land between sinks in hollows. 
Then Caesar decided on a plan that would cost 
endless toil — to join the opposing heights by an 
immense rampart of earth. But first, in order to 
blockade the town entirely on its landward side, he 
carried a long line of works from his lofty camp to 
the sea, cutting off by a trench the water-springs 
and pasture-land ; and with turf and freshly dug 
soil he built up his lines, crowned by frequent 

For the Greek city this alone was fame enough 
and immortal glory — that she was not overborne or 
laid low by mere terror, but arrested the headlong 
rush of war blazing over the world ; that, when 
Caesar made short work with all else, she alone took 
time to conquer. It was a great thing to hinder 
destiny, and to cause Fortune, in her haste to set 
Caesar above all the world, to lose those days. Now 
all the woods were felled and the forests stripped of 
their timber far and wide ; for, since light earth and 
brushwood made the mid-structure loose, the timber 
was intended to compress and bind the soil by the 
carpentry of the sides, and to keep the mound from 
sinking under the weight of the towers. 

A grove there was, untouched by men's hands 
from ancient times, whose interlacing boughs enclosed 



Et gelidas alte summotis solibus umbras. 
Hunc non ruricolae Panes nemorumque potentes 
Silvani Nyraphaeque tenent, sed barbara ritu 
Sacra deum ; structae diris altaribus arae, 
Omnisque humanis lustrata cruoribus arbor. 
Siqua fidem meruit superos mirata vetustas, 
Illis et volucres metuunt insistere ramis 
Et lustris recubare ferae ; nee ventus in illas 
Incubuit silvas excussaque nubibus atris 
Fulgura; non ulli frondem praebentibus aurae 
Arboribus suus horror inest. Tum plurima nigris 
Fontibus unda cadit, simulacraque maesta deorum 
Arte carent caesisque extant informia truneis. 
Ipse situs putrique facit iam robore pallor 
Attonitos ; non volgatis sacra ta figuris 
Numina sic metuunt : tantum terroribus addit, 
Quos timeant, non nosse deos. Iam fama ferebat 
Saepe cavas motu terrae mugire cavernas, 
Et procumbentes iterum consurgere taxos, 
Et non ardentis fulgere incendia silvae, 
Roboraque amplexos circumfluxisse dracones. 
Non ilium cultu populi propiore frequentant 
Sed cessere deis. Medio cum Phoebus in axe est 
Aut caelum nox atra tenet, pavet ipse sacerdos 
Accessus dominumque timet deprendere luci. 

Hanc iubetinmisso silvam procumbere ferro ; 
Nam vicina operi belloque intacta priore 
Inter nudatos stabat densissima montes, 
Sed fortes tremuere manus, motique verenda 



a space of darkness and cold shade, and banished the 
sunlight far above. No rural Pan dwelt there, no 
Silvanus, ruler of the woods, no Nymphs ; but gods 
were worshipped there with savage rites, the altars 
were heaped with hideous offerings, and every tree 
was sprinkled with human gore. On those boughs 
— if antiquity, reverential of the gods, deserves any 
credit — birds feared to perch ; in those coverts wild 
beasts would not lie down ; no wind ever bore down 
upon that wood, nor thunderbolt hurled from black 
clouds ; the trees, even when they spread their 
leaves to no breeze, rustled of themselves. Water, 
also, fell there in abundance from dark springs. 
The images of the gods, grim and rude, were uncouth 
blocks formed of felled tree-trunks. Their mere 
antiquity and the ghastly hue of their rotten timber 
struck terror ; men feel less awe of deities worshipped 
under familiar forms ; so much does it increase their 
sense of fear, not to know the gods whom they 
dread. Legend also told that often the subterranean 
hollows quaked and bellowed, that yew-trees fell down 
and rose again, that the glare of conflagration came 
from trees that were not on fire, and that serpents 
twined and glided round the stems. The people 
never resorted thither to worship at close quarters, 
but left the place to the gods. For, when the sun 
is in mid-heaven or dark night fills the sky, the 
priest himself dreads their approach and fears to 
surprise the lord of the grove. 

This grove was sentenced by Caesar to fall before 
the stroke of the axe ; for it grew near his works. 
Spared in earlier warfare, it stood there covered 
with trees among hills already cleared. But strong 
arms faltered ; and the men, awed by the solemnity 


VOL. I. F 


Maiestate loci, si robora sacra ferirent, 430 

In sua credebant redituras membra secures. 

Inplicitas magno Caesar torpore cohortes 

Ut vidit, primus raptam librare bipennem 

Ausus et aeriam ferro proscindere quercum 

EfFatur merso violata in robora ferro : 436 

" lam ne quis vestrum dubitet subvertere silvam, 

Credite me fecisse nefas." Turn paruit omnis 

Imperiis non sublato secura pavore 

Turba, sed expensa superorum et Caesaris ira. 

Procumbunt orni, nodosa inpellitur ilex, 440 

Silvaque Dodones et Huctibus aptior alnus 

Et non plebeios luctus testata cupressus 

Tum primum posuere comas et fronde carentes 

Admisere diem, propulsaque robcu'e denso 

Sustinuit se silva cadens. Gemuere videntes 445 

Gallorum populi ; muris sed clausa iuventus 

Exultat ; quis enim laesos inpune putaret 

Esse deos ? Servat multos fortuna nocentes, 

Et tantum miseris irasci numina possunt. 

Utque satis caesi nemoris, quaesita per agros 450 

Plaustra ferunt, curvoque soli cessantis aratro 

Agricolae raptis annum flevere iuvencis. 

Dux tamen inpatiens haesuri ad moenia Martis 
Versus ad Hispanas acies extremaque mundi 
lussit bella geri. Stellatis axibus agger 455 

Erigitur geminasque aequantes nwenia turres 

* Cyparissus, son of King Telephus, was changed into 4 



and terror of the place, believed that, if they aimed 
a blow at the sacred trunks, their axes would rebound 
against their own limbs. When Caesar saw that his 
soldiers were sore hindered and paralysed, he was 
the first to snatch an axe and swing it, and dared to 
cleave a towering oak with the steel : driving the 
blade into the desecrated wood, he cried : " Believe 
that I am guilty of sacrilege, and thenceforth none 
of you need fear to cut down the trees." Then all 
the men obeyed his bidding ; they were not easy in 
their minds, nor had their fears been removed ; but 
they had weighed Caesar's wrath against the wrath 
of heaven. Ash trees were felled, gnarled holm- 
oaks overthrown ; Dodona's oak, the alder that suits 
the sea, the cypress that bears witness to a monarch's 
grief,^ all lost their leaves for the first time ; robbed 
of their foliage, they let in the daylight; and the 
toppling wood, when smitten, supported itself by 
the close growth of its timber. The peoples of Gaul 
groaned at the sight ; but the besieged men rejoiced; 
for who could have supposed that the injury to the 
gods would go unpunished ? But Fortune often guards 
the guilty, and the gods must reserve their wrath 
for the unlucky. When wood enough was felled, 
waggons were sought through the countryside to 
convey it; and the husbandmen, robbed of their 
oxen, mourned for the harvest of the soil left 
untouched by the crooked plough. 

But Caesar could not brook this protracted warfare 
before the walls : he turned to the army in Spain 
and the limits of the world, leaving orders that the 
operations should go on. The mound was built up 
with planks arranged lattice-wise, and two towers, 
as high as the town walls, were placed upon it ; the 



Accipit ; hae nullo fixerunt robore terram 

Sed per iter longum causa repsere latenti. 

Cum tantum nutaret onus^ telluris inanes 

Coiicussisse sinus quaerentem erumpere ventum 460 

Credidit et muros mirata est stare iuventus. 

Illinc tela cadunt excelsas urbis in arces. 

Sed maior Graio Romana in corpora ferro 

Vis inerat. Nee enim solis excussa lacertis 

Lancea^ sed tenso ballistae turbine rapta, 465 

Haud unum contenta latus transire quiescit, 

Sed pandens perque arma viam perque ossa relicta 

Morte fugit : superest telo post volnera cursus. 

At saxum quotiens ingenti verberis actu 

Excutitur, qualis rupes, quam vertice mentis 470 

Abscidit in[)ulsu ventorum adiuta vetustas, 

Frangit cuncta ruens nee tantum corpora pressa 

Exanimat, totos cum sanguine dissipat artus. 

Ut tamen hostiles densa testudine muros 

Tecta subit virtus, armisque innexa priores 475 

Arma ferunt, galeamque extensus protegit umbo, 

Quae prius ex longo nocuerunt missa recessu, 

lam post terga cadunt. Nee Grais flectere iactum 

Aut facilis labor est longinqua ad tela parati 

Tormenti mutare modum ; sed pondere solo 480 

Content! nudis evolvunt saxa lacertis. 

Dum fuit armorum series, ut grand in e tecta 

Innocua percussa sonant, sic omnia tela 

Respuit ; at postquam virtus incerta virorum 

* They moved on rollers. 

2 The formation called testudo (tortoise), in which the ov 
lapping shields protect the men below. 




timber of the towers was not driven into the ground, 
but they crawled from far, moved by hidden means. ^ 
When the tall structure nodded, the besieged 
believed that wind, seeking to burst forth, had 
shaken the hollow caverns of the earth, and mar- 
velled that their walls remained standing. From 
the towers missiles were thrown against the lofty 
citadel of the town. But the shot of the Greeks 
fell with greater force on the bodies of the Romans ; 
for their javelins, not sped merely by men's arms, but 
hurled by the tension of the powerful catapult, pierced 
more than one body before they were willing to 
stop : through armour and through bones they cleft 
a broad way and passed on, leaving death behind 
them ; after dealing its wound the weapon flew on. 
And every boulder launched by the mighty impulse 
of a released cord, like a crag which length of time, 
aided by the blast of the winds, tears from a moun- 
tain-top, broke all things in its course, not merely 
crushing out the lives of its victims, but annihilating 
limbs and blood together. But when brave men 
approached the enemy's wall in close formation^ — 
the foremost carrying shields which overlapped the 
shields of those behind, and their helmets protected 
by the roof of bucklers — then the missiles which had 
dealt death at long range, flew over their heads ; 
nor was it easy for the Greeks to shift the range or 
change the aim of engines made to hurl their bolts 
to a distance ; and so they heaved over boulders 
with unaided arms, relying on the weight alone. 
The locking of the shields, while it continued, flung 
off every missile, just as a roof rattles under the 
harmless blows of hail ; but when the weariness and 
wavering valour of the soldiers made gaps in the 



Perpetuam rupit defesso milite cratem. 
Singula continuis cesserunt ictibus arma. 
Tunc adoperta levi procedit vinea terra. 
Sub cuius pluteis et tecta fronte latentes 
Moliri nunc ima parant et vertere ferro 
Moenia ; nunc aries suspense fortior ictu 
Incussus densi conpagem solvere muri 
Temptat et inpositis unum subducere saxis. 
Sed super et flammis et magnae fragmine molis 
Et sudibus crebris et adusti roboris ictu 
Perctissae cedunt crates, frustraque labore 
Exhausto fessus repetit tentoria miles. 

Summa fuit Grais, starent ut moenia, voti : 
Ultro acies inferre parant armisque coruscas 
Noeturni texere faces, audaxque iuventus 
Erupit. Non hasta viris, non letifer arcus, 
Telum flamma fuit, rapiensque incendia ventus 
Per Romana tulit celeri munimina cursu. 
Nee, quamvis viridi luctetur robore, lentas 
Ignis agit vires, taeda sed raptus ab omni 
Consequitur nigri spatiosa volumina fumi. 
Nee solum silvas sed saxa ingentia solvit, 
Et crudae putri fluxerunt pulvere cautes. 
Procubuit maiorque iacens apparuit agger. 

Spes victis telluris abit, placuitque profundo 
Fortunam temptare maris. Non robore picto 
Ornatas decuit fulgens tutela carinas, 
Sed rudis et qualis procumbit montibus arbor 

* I.e. the mantlets. 


armament, the shields gave way, one by one, to the 
unceasing battery. Next, mantlets, lightly covered 
with turf, were brought up; and the besiegers, 
screened by the boards and covered fronts of the 
mantlets, strove to sap the foundations and upset the 
walls with tools of iron ; and now the ram, more 
effective with its swinging blow, tries by its impact 
to break the solid fabric of the wall and remove one 
stone from those laid above it; but smitten from 
above by fire and huge jagged stones, by a rain of 
stakes and by blows from oaken poles hardened by 
fire, the hurdles ^ gave ground, and the besiegers, 
foiled after so great an effort, went back weary to 
their tents. 

The safety of their walls had been the utmost 
that the Greeks hoped for ; but now they prepared 
to take the offensive. By night they hid flaming 
torches behind their shields, and their warriors 
boldly sallied forth. The weapon they bore was 
neither spear nor death-dealing bow, but fire alone ; 
and the wind, whirling the conflagration along, bore 
it swiftly over the Roman works. Though con- 
tending with green wood, the fire was not slow 
to put forth its strength : flying from every torch, 
it followed close on huge volumes of black smoke, 
and consumed not merely timber but mighty stones ; 
and hard rocks were dissolved into crumbling dust. 
Down fell the mound, and looked even larger on 
the ground. 

The defeated Romans despaired of success on 
land and resolved to try their fortune on the sea. 
Their ships were not adorned with painted timbers 
or graced with a glittering figure-head : unshaped 
trees, even as they were felled on the hills, were 


Conseritur, stabilis navalibus area bellis. 

Et iam turrigeram Bruti comitata carinam 

Venerat in fluctus Rhodani cum gurgite classis 615 

Stoechados arva tenens. Nee non et Graia iuventus 

Omne suum fatis voluit committere robur 

Grandaevosque senes mixtis armavit ephebis. 

Accepit non sola viros^ quae stabat in undis, 

Classis : et emeritas repetunt navalibus alnos. 620 

Ut matutinos spargens super aequora Phoebus 

Fregit aquis radios et liber nubibus aether 

Et posito Borea pacemque tenentibus Austris 

Servatuni bello iaeuit mare, movit ab omni 

Quisque suam statione ratem, paribusque lacertis 525 

Caesaris hinc puppes, hinc Graio remige classis 

ToUitur ; inpulsae tonsis tremuere carinae, 

Crebraque sublimes convellunt verbera puppes. 

Cornua Romanae classis valldaeque triremes 

Quasque quater surgens extructi remigis ordo 530 

Commovet et plures quae mergunt aequore pinus, 

Multiplices cinxere rates. Hoc robur aperto 

Oppositum pelago : lunata classe recedunt 

Ordine contentae gemino crevisse Liburnae. 

Celsior at cunctis Bruti praetoria puppis 535 

Verberibus senis agitur molemque profundo 

Invehit et summis longe petit aequora remis. 

Ut tantum medii fuerat maris, utraque classis 
Quod semel excussis posset transcurrere tonsis, 

^ D. Brutus, Caesar's admiral, is not to be confused vvitl 
M. Brutus alread}'^ mentioned. 
• Islands off Marseilles. 



joined together to form a steady platform for fighting 
at sea. By now too the fleet, escorting the turret- 
ship of Brutus,^ had come down with the waters 
of the Rhone to the sea, and was anchored off the 
land of the Stoechades.^ The Greeks were no less 
ready to trust all their forces to the mercy of 
fortune : they put aged sires together with strip- 
lings in the ranks. They manned their fleet which 
rode at anchor, and even searched their dockyards 
for ships past service. The sun scattered his 
morning beams over the sea and splintered them 
on the water ; the sky was free from clouds ; the 
North wind was at rest and the South winds held 
their peace ; the sea lay smooth, reserved for battle. 
Then each man started his vessel from its anchorage, 
and the two fleets leaped forward with rival strength 
of arm — Caesar's ships on one side and the fleet 
rowed by Greeks on the other ; the hulls tremble 
to the beat of the oars, and the rapid stroke tears 
the tall vessels through the water. The wings 
of the Roman fleet were closed in by ships of many 
kinds — stout triremes, and vessels driven by four 
tiers of rowers rising one above another, and others 
that dipped in the sea a still greater number of 
blades. These heavy ships were set as a barrier 
against the open sea ; the galleys, content to rise 
aloft with but two banks of oars, were further back 
in crescent formation. Towering above them all, 
the flag-ship of Brutus, driven by six rows of oars 
and advancing its bulk over the deep, reaches for 
the water far below with its topmost tier. 

When only so much of sea separated the fleets 
as each of them could cover with one lusty stroke 
of oars, then countless cries rose together in the 



Innuraerae vasto miscentur in aethere voces, 540 

Remorumque sonus premitur clamore, nee ullae 

Audiri potuere tubae. Turn caerula verrunt 

Atque in transtra cadunt et remis pectora pulsant. 

Ut primum rostris crepuerunt obvia rostra, 

In puppim rediere rates, emissaque tela 545 

Aera texerunt vacuumque cadentia pontum. 

Et iam diductis extendunt cornua proris, 

Diversaeque rates laxata classe receptae. 

Ut, quotiens aestus Zephyris Eurisque repugnat. 

Hue abeunt fluctus, illo mare, sic ubi puppes 550 

Sulcato varios duxerunt gurgite tractus. 

Quod tulit ilia ratis remis, haec rettulit aequor. 

Sed Grais habiles pugnamque lacessere pinus 

Et temptare fugam nee longo frangere gyro 

Cursum nee tardae flectenti cedere clavo ; 665 

At Romana ratis stabilem praebere carinam 

Certior et terrae similem bellantibus usum. 

Tunc in signifera residenti puppe magistro 

Brutus ait : " Paterisne acies errare profundo, 

Artibus et certas pelagi ? iam consere bellum, 660 

Phocaicis medias rostris oppone carinas." 

Paruit, obliquas et praebuit hostibus alnos. 

Turn quaecumque ratis temptavit robora Bruti, 

Ictu victa suo percussae capta cohaesit ; 

Ast alias manicaeque ligant teretesque catenae, 666 

Seque teneiit remis : tecto stetit aequore bellum. 



wide heaven, till the splash of the blades was 
drowned by shouting and no trumpet could be 
heard. Then the men sweep the sea, bending 
back to the thwarts behind and bringing the oars 
against their chests. As soon as beak met beak 
and clashed, the ships backed astern, and a volley 
of missiles covered the sky and, as they fell, the 
sea between the ships. And now the Romans 
deploy their wings, leaving space between the 
prows, and their open order gives entrance to the 
enemy's ships. As, when the tide runs against 
winds from West or East, the waves are driven in 
one direction and the body of the sea in another ; 
so, when the vessels ploughed furrows in the sea 
this way and that, the water which the oars of 
one ship threw behind it was thrown by another 
in the opposite direction. But the Greek ships 
were easily handled for attack or retreat, quick 
to change course with a sharp turn and to answer 
the guiding helm, while the Roman ships were safer 
in this — that they offered a steady platform to 
the fighter and a foothold like dry ground. Then 
Brutus hailed his steersman who sat on the poop 
beside the ensign : " Why suffer the battle to 
straggle over the sea ? why seek to rival the foe's 
manoeuvres? Mass the ships for fighting at once, 
and offer our broadsides to the beaks of the 
Phocaeans." The man obeyed and exposed the 
ship's broadside to the enemy. Thereafter, each 
ship that tested the timber of Brutus was defeated 
by its own blow and clung, a captive, to the vessel 
it had rammed, while others were noosed by 
grappling-irons and smooth chains, or were en- 
tangled by their own oars. The sea was no longer 
visible, and the battle became stationary. 



lam-non excussis torquentur tela lacertis. 
Nee longinqua cadunt iaculato volnera ferro, 
Miscenturque manus. Navali plurima bello 
Ensis agit. Stat quisque suae de robore puppis 570 

Pronus in adversos ictuSj nuUique perempti 
In ratibus cecidere suis. Cruor altus in unda 
Spumat, et obducti concrete sanguine fluctus. 
Et quas inmissi traxerunt vincula ferri. 
Has prohibent iungi conferta cadavera puppes. 675 

Semianimes alii vastum subiere profundum 
Hauseruntque suo permixtum sanguine pontum. 
Hi luctantem animam lenta cum morte trahentes 
Fractarum subita ratium periere ruina. 
Inrita tela suas peragunt in gurgite caedes, 580 

Et quodcumque cadit frustrate pondere ferrum, 
Exceptum mediis invenit volnus in undis. 

Phocaicis Romana ratis vallata carinis 
Robore diducto dextrum laevumque tuetur 
Aequo Marte latus ; cuius dum pugnat ab alta 685 

Puppe Catus Graiumque audax aplustre retentat, 
Terga simul pariter missis et pectora telis 
Transigitur ; medio concurrit pectore ferrum, 
Et stetit incertus, flueret quo volnere, sanguis, 
Donee utrasque simul largus cruor expulit hastas 690 
Divisitque animam sparsitque in volnera letuni. 
Derigit hue puppem miseri quoque dextra Telonis, 
Qua nuUam melius pelago turbante carinae 
Audivere manum, nee lux est notior ulli 
Crastina, seu Phoebum videat seu cornua lunae, 695 

Semper Venturis conponere carbasa ventis, 



No longer were weapons hurled from vigorous 
arms, no longer were the wounds of the hurtling 
steel inflicted at a distance ; but men fought hand 
to hand. The sword played the chief part in that 
fight at sea. Each man leaned forward from the 
bulwark of his own ship to strike his foe, and 
none fell dead upon their own decks. Their blood 
foamed deep upon the wave, and a crust of gore 
covered the sea. The ships that were caught and 
dragged by the iron chains were prevented from 
coming close by the crowded corpses. Some sailors 
sank half alive into the bottomless deep and drank 
the brine mixed with their own blood. Others, 
while still drawing breath that struggled against 
tardy death, perished by the sudden downfall of 
their wrecked craft. Weapons that missed their 
aim killed men in the water on their own account ; 
and every missile that fell with its heavy blow 
baffled was met and found a mark in mid-ocean. 

A Roman ship, hemmed in by Phocaean craft, 
was defending her port and starboard with divided 
crew but equal hardihood. Catus, while fighting 
on the raised poop and boldly grasping the stern- 
ornament of a foe, was pierced in back and breast 
at the same moment by weapons launched together ; 
the weapons met in his body, and the blood stayed, 
uncertain through which wound to flow ; at last the 
torrent from his veins drove out both javelins at 
once, parting his life in two and distributing his 
death between the wounds. Hither also ill-fated 
Telo steered his bark ; to no hand were ships on 
stormy seas more obedient than to his ; and none, 
from observation of the sun or the moon's horns, 
could better forecast the morrow, so as ever to 


Hie Latiae rostro conpagem ruperat alni, 

Pila sed in medium venere trementia pectus, 

Avertitque ratem morientis dextra magistri. 

Dum cupit in sociam Gyareus erepere puppem, 600 

Excipit inmissum suspensa per ilia ferrum, 

Adfixusque rati telo retinente pependit. 

Stant gemini fratres, fecundae gloria matris, 
Quos eadem variis genuerunt viscera fatis. 
Discrevit mors saeva vires, unumque relictum 606 

Agnorunt miseri sublato errore parentes, 
Aeternis causam lacrimis ; tenet ille dolorem 
Semper et amissum fratrem lugentibus ofFert. 
Quorum alter mixtis oblique pectine remis 
Ausus Romanae Graia de puppe carinae 610 

Iniectare manum ; sed earn gravis insuper ictus 
Amputat ; ilia tamen nisu, quo prenderat, liaesit 
Deriguitque tenens strictis inmortua nervis. 
Crevit in adversis virtus : plus nobilis irae 
Truncus habet fortique instaurat proelia laeva 615 

Rapturusque suam procumbit in aequora dextram : 
Haec quoque cum tote manus est abscisa lacerte. 
lam clipee telisque carens, non conditus ima 
Puppe sed expositus fraternaque pectore nude 
Arma tegens, crebra confix us cuspide perstat 620 

Telaque multorum leto casura suorum 

^ He wished to take Telo's place at the helm. 


set his sails to the coming winds. He would have 
rammed the side of the Roman vessel, had not 
flying javelins pierced to the centre of his breast ; 
and the hand of the dying helmsman steered his 
ship aside. While Gyareus sought to clamber over 
into his friend's craft/ a grapnel was launched and 
caught him through the middle as he dangled in 
air ; and there he hung, held fast by the engine 
to the gunwale. 

Twin brothers fought there, the pride of a fertile 
mother ; but the same womb gave them birth for 
different deaths. The cruel hand of death made 
distinction between them ; and the wretched 
parents, no longer puzzled by the likeness, recog- 
nised the one survivor but found in him a source 
of unending sorrow ; for he keeps their grief ever 
present and recalls his lost brother to their mourn- 
ing hearts. One of these twins dared to catch 
hold of a Roman ship from his own deck, when 
the oars were entangled and overlapped each other. 
The hand was lopped off by a heavy downward 
blow ; but still it clung with the effort of its first 
grip and, holding on with strained muscles, stiffened 
there in death. His valour rose with disaster ; 
mutilated, he displays yet more heroic ardour. 
Fiercely he renews the fight with his left hand 
and leans forward over the water to rescue his 
right hand ; the left hand also and the whole arm 
were cut off. Then bereft both of shield and 
sword, nut hiding away in the bottom of the ship 
but full in view, he protects his brother's shield with 
his own bare breast, standing firm, though pierced 
with many a point, and, although he had amply 
earned his death already, stopping missiles that 



Emerita iam morte tenet. Turn volnere multo 

EfFugientem animam lassos collegit in artus 

Membraque contendit toto, quicumque manebat, 

Sanguine et hostilem defectis robore nervis 626 

Insiluit solo nociturus pondere puppem. 

Strage virum cumulata ratis mul toque cruore 

Plena per obliquum crebros latus accipit ictus, 

Et, postquam ruptis pelagus conpagibus hausit, 

Ad summos repleta foros descendit in undas 630 

Vicinum involvens contorto vortice pontum. 

Aequora discedunt mersa diducta carina, 

Inque locum puppis cecidit mare. Multaque ponto 

Praebuit ille dies varii miracula fati. 

Ferrea dum puppi rapidos manus inserit uncos, 635 
Adfixit Lycidan. Mersus foret ille profundo, 
Sed prohibent socii suspensaque crura retentant. 
Scinditur avolsus, nee, sicut volnere, sanguis 
Emicuit lentus : ruptis cadit undique venis, 
Discursusque animae diversa in membra meantis 640 
Interceptus aquis. Nullius vita perempti 
Est tanta dimissa via. Pars ultima trunci 
Tradidit in letum vacuos vitalibus artus ; 
At tumidus qua pulmo iacet, qua viscera fervent, 
Haeserunt ibi fata diu luctataque multum 645 

Hac cum parte viri vix omnia membra tulerunt. 

Dum nimium pugnax unius turba carinae 
Incumbit prono lateri vacuamque relinquit. 



would in their fall have made an end of many. 
Then the life that was departing through many 
wounds he gathered together into his spent frame, 
and bracing his limbs with all his remaining 
strength, he sprang on board the Roman ship ; his 
sinews had lost their power, and his only weapon 
was his weight. She was piled high with the 
carnage of her crew and ran with blood ; she 
suffered blow after blow on her broadside ; and, when 
her sides were shattered and let in the sea, she filled 
up to the top of her decks and sank down into the 
waves, sucking in the water round her with curling 
eddy. As the ship sank, the sea parted asunder 
and then fell back into the room she had occupied. 
And many other strange forms of death were seen 
that day upon the deep. 

Thus Lycidas was pierced by a grappling-iron 
that hurled its swift hooks on board. He would 
have sunk in the sea, but for his comrades who 
seized his legs as they swung in air. He was torn 
asunder, and his blood gushed out, not trickling 
as from a wound, but raining on all sides from 
his severed arteries ; and the free play of the life 
coursing through the different limbs was cut off by 
the water. No other victim's life escaped through 
so wide a channel. The lower half of his body 
resigned to death the limbs that contain no vital 
organs ; but where the lungs were full of air and 
the heart of heat, there death was long baffled and 
struggled hard with this part of the man, till with 
difficulty it mastered the whole body. 

On one of the ships the crew, too eager for battle, 
leaned on the tilted gunwale and left empty the side 
where there was no enemy. Their combined weight 



Qua caret hoste, ratem, congesto pondere puppis 
Versa cava texit pelagus nautasque carina, 660 

Bracchia nee licuit vasto iactare profundo, 
Sed clause periere mari. Tunc unica diri 
Conspecta est leti facies, cum forte natantem 
Diversae rostris iuvenem fix ere carinae. 
Discessit medium tam vastos pectus ad ictus, 65 

Nee prohibere valent obtritis ossibus artus. 
Quo minus aera sonent ; eliso ventre per ora 
Eiectat saniem permixtus viscere sanguis. 
Postquam inhibent remis puppes ac rostra reducunt, 
Deiectum in pelagus perfosso pectore corpus 66( 

Volneribus transmisit aquas. Pars maxima turbae 
Naufraga iactatis morti obluctata lacertis 
Puppis ad auxilium sociae concurrit ; at illis, 
Robora cum vetitis prensarent altius ulnis 
Nutaretque ratis populo peritura recepto, 66 

Jnpia turba super medios ferit ense lacertos. 
Bracchia linquentes Graia pendentia puppe 
A manibus cecidere suis : non amplius undae 
Sustinuere graves in summo gurgite truncos. 

lam que omni fusis nudato milite telis 67 

Invenit arma furor : remum contorsit in hostem 
Alter, at hi totum validis aplustre lacertis, 
Avolsasque rotant expulso remige sedes. 
In pugnam fregere rates. Sidentia pessum 
Corpora caesa tenent spoliantque cadayera ferro. 67i 



upset the craft, so that she covered over both sea 
and sailors with her hull ; it was impossible to strike 
out on the open sea, and they died in their ocean 
prison. On that day was seen an unexampled form 
of dreadful death : it chanced that a man in the 
water was pierced by the beaks of two ships meeting 
one another. His breast was cloven in two by the 
dreadful impact ; the bones were ground to powder, 
and the body could not hinder the brazen prows 
from clashing. The belly was crushed ; blood, 
mixed with flesh, spouted gore through the mouth. 
When the ships backed water and withdrew their 
beaks, the corpse with mutilated breast sank and 
suffered the water to pass through its wounds. Of 
another crew most were shipwrecked and swam for 
their lives till they crowded to get help from a 
friendly craft ; then, when they caught hold of the 
gunwale high up, though they were warned off, 
because the ship was unsteady and would have sunk 
if she had rescued them all, the others without pity 
chopped their arms in two with the sword from 
their deck. Their arms still hanging on the Greek 
ship, they fell and left their hands behind them ; 
nor did the surface of the sea support any longer the 
weight of the mutilated bodies. 

By now the fighters had all discharged their 
missiles, and their hands were empty, but rage 
found weapons. One hurled an oar at the foe ; the 
strong arms of others launch a whole stern-ornament, 
or turn out the rowers and tear up the thwarts for a 
missile ; they broke up their ships to fight with. 
They caught hold of dead bodies as they sank to the 
bottom, and robbed the corpses of the weapons 
which had killed them. Many a man, for want of 



Multi inopes teli iaculum letale revolsum 
Volneribus traxere suis et viscera laeva 
Oppressere manu, validos dum praebeat ictus 
Sanguis et, hostilem cum torserit, exeat, hastam. 

Nulla tamen plures hoc edidit aequore clades 680 

Quam pelago diversa lues. Nam pinguibus ignis 
Adfixus taedis et tecto sulpure vivax 
S})argitur ; at faciles praebere aliraenta carinae 
Nunc pice, nunc liquida rapuere incendia cera. 
Nee flammas superant undae, sparsisque per aequor 685 
lam ratibus fragmenta ferus sibi vindicat ignis. 
Hie recipit fluctus, extinguat ut aequore flammas. 
Hi, ne mergantur, tabulis ardentibus haerent. 
Mille modos inter leti mors una timori est. 
Qua coepere mori. Nee cessat naufraga virtus : 690 
Tela legunt deiecta mari ratibusque ministrant 
Incertasque manus ictu languente per undas 
Exercent ; nunc, rara datur si copia ferri, 
Utuntur pelago : saevus conplectitur hostem 
Hostis, et inplicitis gaudent subsidere membris 695 

Mergentesque mori. Pugna fuit unus in ilia 
Eximius Phoceus animam servare sub undis 
Scrutarique fretum, si quid mersisset harcnis, 
Et nimis adfixos unci convellere morsus, 
Adductum quotiens non senserat anchora funem. 700 
Hie, ubi conprensum penitus deduxerat hostem, 
Victor et incolumis summas remeabat in undas ; 

1 The blood is identified with the vital power : cf. iv. 286, 

2 The epithet has never been explained : the sulphur was 
smeared on the top of torches. 

3 In ancient ships wax was used for oakum, to caulk the 
seams of the deck ; comp. x. 494. 



a missile, plucked forth the fatal javelin from his 
own wounds and clutched his vitals with the left 
hand, that the blood might have time to deal a sturdy 
stroke^ and hurl back the enemy's spear before it 
flowed forth. 

In that sea fight, however, no plague wrought 
more destruction than the element most hostile to 
the sea. For fire spread everywhere — fire cleaving 
to resinous torches and kept alive by hidden ^ 
sulphur; and thereupon the ships, quick to provide 
fuel, caught fire at once with their pitch or melting 
wax. 3 Nor did the waves master the fire, but the 
flame caught fierce hold of the wrecks now scattered 
over the deep. Some let in the sea, to put out the 
fire, while others cling to blazing planks, for fear 
they drown ; among a thousand forms of death, 
men fear one only — ^that in which death first ap- 
proaches them. Even in shipwreck brave men are 
brave still : they pick up weapons thrown down 
into the sea and hand them to the crews, or deal 
feeble blows with erring aim from the water. 
Some, when other weapons fail, make the sea their 
weapon : foe grapples fiercely with foe, glad to sink 
with limbs locked together and to drown while 
drowning another. One of the combatants was 
Phoceus ; * better than all other men could he hold 
his breath under water, and search the deep for aught 
which its sands had swallowed ; or, when the anchor 
would not answer the tug of the cable, he could 
wrench away the flukes that had bitten too deep. 
He had grappled with a foe and carried him deep 
down, and now was returning to the surface alive 

• This may be a proper name ; or it may stand for 
Phocaicus, "a man of Marseilles.'* 



Sed se per vacuos credit dum surgere fluctus, 
Puppibus occurrit tandemque sub aequore mansit. 
Hi super hostiles iecerunt bracchia remos 705 

Et ratium tenuere fugam. Non perdere letum 
Maxima cura fuit : multus sua volnera puppi 
Adfixit moriens et rostris abstulit ictus. 

Stan tern sublimi Tyrrheiium culmine prorae 
Lygdamus, excussae Balearis tortor habenae, 710 

Glande petens solido fregit cava tempora plumbo. 
Sedibus expulsi, postquam cruor omnia rupit 
Vincula, procurrunt oculi, stat lumine rapto 
Attonitus mortisque illas putat esse tenebras. 
At postquam membris sensit constare vigorem, 715 

" Vos/' ait " o socii, sicut tormenta soletis. 
Me quoque mittendis rectum conponite telis. 
Egere, quod superest animae, Tyrrhene, per omnes 
Bellorum casus. Ingentem militis usum 
Hoc habet ex magna defunctum parte cadaver : 720 

Viventis feriere loco." Sic fatus in hostem 
Caeca tela manu, sed non tamen inrita, mittit. 
Excipit haec iuvenis generosi sanguinis Argus, 
Qua iam non medius descendit in ilia venter, 
Adiuvitque suo procumbens pondere ferrum. 725 

Stabat di versa victae iam parte carinae 
Infelix Argi genitor, non ille iuventae 
Tempore Phocaicis ulli cessurus in armis ; 
Victum aevo robur cecidit, fessusque senecta 
Exemplum, non miles erat ; qui funere viso 730 



and victorious. Fie believed he was rising where 
the sea was open ; but he struck a ship's bottom and 
never rose again. Some flung their arms over 
enemy's oars and checked the flight of their vessels. 
Their chief anxiety was not to waste their deaths : 
many a dying man prevented an enemy's beak from 
ramming by fastening his own wounded body on 
the stern of his ship. 

Tyrrhenus was standing on the lofty bow of his 
ship, when Lygdamus, a wielder of the Balearic 
thong, aimed a bullet and slung it ; and the solid 
lead crushed his hollow temples. The blood burst 
all the ligaments, and the eyes, forced from their 
sockets, rushed forth. Tyrrhenus stood amazed by 
his sudden blindness, believing that this was the 
darkness of death. But when he felt that his limbs 
retained their strength, he called to his companions : 
" As you are wont to place your engines, so place 
me too in the right position for hurling darts. 
Tyrrhenus must spend what remains of life in every 
hazard of war. This body, half dead already, can 
play a soldier's part nobly : I shall be slain in place 
of a living man." With these words he launched at 
the foe a dart which, though no eye guided it, was 
not launched in vain. It struck Argus, a youth of 
noble race, just where the lower part of the belly 
meets the groin, and falling forward he drove the 
steel deeper with his own weight. At the other 
end of the ship, which was now past fighting, stood 
the unhappy father of Argus. In his prime he 
would have matched any man of the Phocaean 
army, but conquering age had brought low his 
strength, and the feeble old man could not fight but 
could show the way to others. When he saw the 



Saepe cadens longae senior per transtra carinae 

Pervenit ad puppim spirantesque invenit artus. 

Non lacrimae cecidere genis, non pectora tundit, 

Distentis toto riguit sed corpore palmis. 

Nox subit atque oculos vastae obduxere tenebrae, 735 

Et miseriim cernens agnoscere desinit Arguni. 

lUe caput labens et iam languentia eolla 

Viso patre levat ; vox fauces nulla solutas 

Prosequitur, tacito tantum petit oscula voitu 

Invitatque patris claudenda ad luraina dextram. 740 

Ut torpore senex caruit viresque cruentus 

Coepit habere dolor, " Non perdam tempora " dixit 

^' A saevis permissa deis, iugulumque senilem 

Confodiam. Veniam misero concede parenti, 

Arge, quod amplexus, extrema quod oscula fugi. 745 

Nondum destituit calidus tua volnera sanguis, 

Semianimisque iaces et adhuc potes esse superstes." 

Sic fatus, quamvis capulum per viscera missi 

Polluerat gladii, tamen alta sub aequora tendit 

Praecipiti saltu : letum praecedere nati 750 

Festinantem animam morti non credidit uni. 

Inclinant iam fata ducum, nee iam amplius anceps 
Belli casus erat. Graiae pars maxima classis 
Mergitur, ast aliae mutato remige puppes 
Victores vexere suos ; navalia paucae 755 

Praecipiti tenuere fuga. Quis in urbe parentum 
Fletus erat ! quanti matrum per litora planctus! 
Coniunx saepe sui confusis voltibus unda 

1 68 


deadly wound, he made his way with many a stumble 
along the ship and past the benches, and found the 
body at the stern still breathing. No tears fell from 
his cheeks, no blows on his breast, but his hands 
flew wide apart and all his body became rigid. 
Night came over him, and thick darkness veiled his 
eyes; he ceased to recognise the hapless figure of 
Argus before him. At sight of his father the son 
raised his sinking head and failing neck ; no words 
followed the unlocking of his throat : he could only 
ask a kiss with silent look and beg that his father's 
hand might close his eyes. When the old man 
recovered from his swoon, and cruel grief began to 
assert its power, " I will not waste," he cried, "the 
respite granted by the ruthless gods, but will use it 
to pierce this aged throat. Ar/^us, forgive your 
wretched father for refusing your last embrace and 
your parting kiss. The warm blood has not yet 
ebbed from your wounds and you lie there still 
breathing ; it is still possible for you to survive me." 
Thus he spoke, and not content with driving his 
sword through his body till the hilt was stained, he 
sprang headlong into the deep, so eager to die before 
his son that he would not trust to a single form of 

The fortunes of the leaders were no longer evenly 
balanced, and the issue of the fight was no longer 
doubtful. Of the Greek ships most were sunk, 
others with changed crews now carried their con- 
querors, and only a few gained the dockyards by 
nasty flight. What tears were shed by parents in 
the city ! how loud was the lamentation of mothers 
along the shore I Many a wife clasped a Roman 
corpse, mistaking the face, with features disfigured 



Credidit ora viri Romanum amplexa cadaver, 
Accensisque rogis miseri de corpora trunco 760 

Certavere patres. At Brutus in aequore victor 
Primus Caesareis pelagi decus addidit armis. 



by the sea, for her husband's ; beside lighted pyres 
hapless father strove with father for possession of 
a headless body. On the other side, Brutus by his 
victory at sea first conferred naval glory on Caesar's 

1 Lucan strangely omits to mention that Massilia was 
taken by Caesar's forces. 




At procul extremis terrarum Caesar in oris 

Martem saevus agit non multa caede nocentem. 

Maxima sed fati ducibus momenta daturum. 

lure pari rector castris Afranius illis 

Ac Petreius erat ; concordia duxit in aequas 5 

Imperium commune vices, tutelaque valli 

Pervigil alterno paret custodia signo. 

His praeter Latias acies erat inpiger Astur 

Vettonesque leves profugique a gente vetusta 

Gallorum Celtae miscentes nomen Hiberis. 10 

Colle tumet modico lenique excrevit in altum 
Fingue solum tumulo ; super hunc fundata vetusta 
Surgit Ilerda manu ; placidis praelabitur undis 
Hesperios inter Sicoris non ultimus amnes, 
Saxeus ingenti quem pons amplectitur arcu 15 

Hibernas passurus aquas. At proxima rupes 
Signa tenet Magni ; nee Caesar colle minora 
Castra levat ; medius dirimit tentoria gurges. 
Explicat bine tellus campos efFusa patentes 
Vix oculo prendente modum, camposque coerces, 20 
Cinga rapax, vetitus fluctus et litora cursu 
Oceani pepulisse tuo ; nam gurglte mixto 
Qui praestat terris aufert tibi nomen Hiberus. 

* A common deseription of Spain in Lucan. 

2 Pompey's army of veterans. 

^ Celtiberian was the compound name. 



But far away, in the outermost region of earth,'^ 
Caesar fiercely carried on war — war not guilty of 
much bloodshed, but destined to turn decisively the 
scales of fate for the rival leaders. Afranius 
and Petreius ruled the army ^ in Spain with equal 
authority : united in heart, they shared their com- 
mand equally and in turn, and the watchful guard 
that kept the rampart safe obeyed the watchword 
of each in turn. Besides Roman soldiers they had 
active Asturians and nimble Vettones, and Celts, 
emigrants from an ancient tribe of Gaul, who added 
their own name to that of the Hiberians.^ 

The fertile land rises in a hill of moderate height 
and ascends with easy slope ; and on this stands 
Ilerda, founded by hands of old. The Sicoris, not 
least among western rivers, flows by with quiet 
waters; and a stone bridge, fit to withstand the 
winter floods, spans the river with mighty arch. A 
steep hill close by was occupied by the army of 
Magnus; and Caesar pitched his camp aloft on 
another hill as high ; the river flowed between and 
divided the camps. Beyond, the level land spreads 
out in plains whose limit the eye can scarce em- 
brace ; but the rushing Cinga bounds the plains — 
Cinga, whose own swift waters may never smite the 
shore and the sea ; for the Hiberus, which gives its 
name to the country, mixes its flood with the Cinga 
and steals its name from it. 



Prima dies belli cessavit Marte cruento 
Spectandasque ducum vires numerosaque signa 26 

Exposuit. Piguit sceleris ; pudor arma furentum 
Continuit, patriaeque et ruptis legibus unum 
Donavere diem ; prono cum Caesar Olympo 
In noctem subita circumdedit agmina fossa, 
Dum primae perstant acies, hostemque fefellit 30 

Et prope consertis obduxit castra maniplis. 
Luce nova collem subito conscendere cursu. 
Qui medius tutam castris dirimebat Ilerdam, 
Imperat. Hue hostem pariter terrorque pudorque 
Inpulit, et rapto turaulum prior agmine cepit. 35 

His virtus ferrumque locum promittit, at illis 
Ipse locus. Miles rupes oneratus in altas 
Nititur, adversoque acies in monte supina 
Haeret et in tergum casura umbone sequentis 
Erigitur. Nulli telum vibrare vacavit, 40 

Dum labat et fixo firmat vestigia pilo, 
Dum scopulos stirpesque tenent atque hoste relicto 
Oaedunt ense viam. Vidit lapsura ruina 
Agmina dux equitemque iubet succedere bello 
Munitumque latus laevo praeducere gyro. 45 

Sic pedes ex facili nulloque urguente receptus, 
Inritus et victor subducto Marte pependit. 

Hactenus armorum discrimina ; cetera bello 
Fata dedit variis incertus motibus aer. 

^ He shifted his camp to a site nearer the enemy and concealed 
the manoeuvre. 

" I.e. their left side. 



The first day of the campaign was innocent of 
bloodshed : it only displayed to view the forces of 
the leaders and the multitude of their troops. Men 
loathed their own wickedness ; shame held back 
the weapons of their frenzy, and they granted one 
day's respite to their country and the laws they had 
l)roken. But when the sky was westering towards 
night, Caesar surrounded his army with a trench 
dug in haste, while his front rank kept their 
ground; thus he deceived the enemy, screening 
his camp with a line of troops drawn up near at 
hand.^ At dawn he ordered his men to move with 
speed and climb the hill, which lay between Ilerda 
and the camp and protected the town. Fear and 
shame alike drove the enemy to this point : with 
flying march they reached the hill first and occupied 
it. Their courage and their swords promised 
possession of the ground to Caesar's men ; but the 
foe relied on actual possession. The heavy-laden 
soldier struggles up the heights ; the line, looking 
upward, clings to the mountain before it and is 
supported from falling backwards by the shields of 
those behind. None was at leisure to hurl his 
weapon : each drives in his javelin to assure his 
slippery foothold ; they clutch at rocks and trees ; 
they pay no heed to the enemy but hack a path 
with their swords. Caesar saw that his ranks would 
come down with a crash ; therefore he ordered the 
cavalry to take up the fighting and interpose their 
shield-side ^ by a left wheel. Thus the infantry were 
easily rescued, and none pursued them ; the con- 
querors, when their antagonists were withdrawn, 
remained on the hill, but had gained nothing. 

So far only the strife of arms proceeded : the rest 


VOL. I. 


Pigro bruma gelu siccisque Aquilonibus haerens 
Aethere constricto pluvias in nube tenebat. 
Urebant moritana nives camposque iacentes 
Non duraturae conspecto sole pruinae, 
Atque omnis propior mergenti sidera caelo 
Aruerat tellus hiberno dura sereno. 
Sed postquam vernus calidum Titana recepit 
Sidera respieiens delapsae portitor Helles, 
Atque iterum aequatis ad iustae pondera Librae 
Temporibus vicere dies, turn sole relicto 
Cynthia, quo primum cornu dubitanda refulsit, 
Exclusit Borean flammasque accepit in Euro. 
lUe, suo nubes quascumque invenit in axe, 
Torsit in occiduum Nabataeis flatibus orbera, 
Et quas sentit Arabs et quas Gangetica tellus 
Exhalat nebulas, quidquid concrescere primus 
Sol patitur, quidquid caeli fuscator Eoi 
Inpulerat Corus, quidquid defenderat Indos. 
Incendere diem nubes oriente remotae 
Nee medio potuere graves incumbere mundo 
Sed nimbos rapuere fuga. Vacat imbribus Arctos 
Et Notus, in solam Calpen fluit umidus aer. 
Hie, ubi iam Zephyri fines, et summus Olympi 
Cardo tenet Tethyn, vetitae transcurrere densos 
Involvere globos, congestumque aeris atri 
Vix recipit spatium quod separat aethere terram. 

1 The western sky. ^ Aries, the Ram. 

' I.e. after the vernal equinox. 



of the campaign was decided by the shifting phases 
of capricious weatlier. Winter, congealed with 
numbing frost and dry North winds, had bound 
the upper air and penned the rain in the clouds. 
The mountains were nipped by snow, and the low- 
lying plains by hoar frost that would vanish at first 
sight of the sun ; and all the earth, near that part 
of the sky which dips the stars/ was hard and dry 
owing to the cloudless winter weather. But in 
spring the Carrier 2 who let Helle fall received the 
burning sun and looked back at the other Signs ; 
and, when day and night had for the second time 
been made equal according to the balance of un- 
erring Libra, day gained the victory.^ Then the 
moon, receding from the sun, with that crescent 
with which she shone, scarce visible, at first, barred 
the North wind and grew bright while the East 
wind blew. The East wind drove to the West on 
blasts from Arabia all the clouds he found in his 
own clime, all the mists that the Arabs feel or 
the land of the Ganges breathes forth, all the 
moisture that the Eastern sun suffers to collect, all 
that the blast which darkens the Eastern heavens 
had driven on, and all that had screened the 
Indians from the sun. Day in the East was made 
hotter by the removal of the clouds — clouds which 
could not deposit their heavy burden on the centre 
of earth, but swept the storms with them in their 
flight. North and South were rainless, and all the 
moist air streamed to Calpe. There, where the 
zephyrs start and the furthest point of heaven limits 
the sea, the clouds, forbidden to go further, rolled 
into dense round masses ; and the space that divides 
earth from heaven could scarce contain the accumu- 



Tamque polo pressae largos densantur in imbres 

Spissataeque fluunt ; nee servant fulmina flammas 

Quamvis crebra micent : exstinguunt fulgura nimbi. 

Hinc inperfecto conplectitur aera gyro 

Arcus, vix ulla variatus luce colorem, 80 

Oceanumque bibit raptosque ad nubila fluctus 

Pertulit et caelo defusum reddidit aequor. 

lamque Pyrenaeae, quas numquam solvere Titan 

Evaluit, fluxere nives, fractoque madescunt 

Saxa gelu. Turn, quae solitis e fontibus exit, 85 

Non habet unda vias : tarn largas alveus omnis 

A ripis accepit aquas. lam naufraga eampo 

Caesaris arma natant, inpulsaque gurgite multo 

Castra labant ; alto restagnant flumina vallo. 

Non pecorum raptus faciles, non pabula niersi 9Q 

Ulla ferunt sulci ; tectarum errore viaruni 

Fallitur occultis sparsus populator in agris. ' ^^^'^ 

lamque comes semper magnorum prima malorum 

Saeva fames aderat, nulloque obsessus ab hoste 

Miles eget ; toto censu non prodigus emit 8d 

Exiguam Cererem. Pro lucri pallida tabes ! 

Non dest prolato ieiunus venditor auro. 

lam tumuli collesque latent, iara flumina cuncta 

Condidit una palus vastaque voragine mersit : 

Absorpsit penitus rupes ac tecta ferarum 100 

Detulit atque ipsas hausit, subitisque frementes 

Vorticibus contorsit aquas et reppulit aestus 

I So 


lation of dark mist. Next, squeezed against the 
sky, they condense into al)undant rain and flow 
along thickened ; thunderbolts flashed constantly 
but could not keep their flame, because the rain 
put out the lightning. Next, the rainbow spanned 
the sky with its broken arch, while hardly any 
light diversified its colours ; it drank the ocean, 
carried up the waves speedily to the clouds, and 
restored the water that had poured down from the 
sky. Then the Pyrenean snows, which no sun had 
ever power to thaw, were melted, the ice was 
broken up, and the clifFs were wetted. Next, no 
stream that issues forth from its normal springs 
finds a fixed path : such a flood of waters poured 
into every channel from over its banks. By this 
time Caesar's army was shipwrecked and afloat on 
land, his camp fell to pieces under the shock of 
constant floods, and the rivers formed pools witliin 
his high rampart. To carry off cattle is impossible ; 
the submerged furrows produce no food ; the spoilers, 
straggling over the vanished fields, are deceived by 
missing the inundated roads. And now cruel famine 
came — famine that is ever first in the train of great 
disasters, and the soldier starves while no foe besets 
him : though no spendthrift, he parted with all his 
wealth for a handful of grain. Shame on the pale 
plague of avarice! When gold is produced, sellers 
are forthcoming, though hungry themselves. By 
now mounds and hills are hidden ; all the rivers are 
buried and swallowed up in the huge maw of a 
single pool, which has devoured the rocks in its 
depths, and carried down the habitations of wild 
beasts, and engulfed the beasts themselves ; with 
sudden eddies it churns up its roaring waters and 



Forlior Oceani. Nee Phoebum surgere sentit 

Nox subtexta polo : rerum discrimina miscet 

Deformis caeli facies iunctaeque tenebrae. lOfi 

Sic mundi pars ima iacet, quam zona nivalis 

Perpetuaeque premunt hiemes : non sidera caelo 

Ulla videt, sterili non quidquam frigore gignit, 

Sed glacie medios signorum temperat ignes. 

Sic, o summe parens mundi, sic, sorte secunda IIC 

Aequorei rector, facias, Neptune, tridentis, 

Et tu perpetuis inpendas aera nimbis, 

Tu remeare vetes, quoscumque emiseris, aestus. 

Non habeant amnes declivem ad litora cursum 

Sed pelagi referantur aquis, concussaque tellus llf 

Laxet iter fluviis : hos campos Rhenus inundet, 

Hos Rliodanus, vastos obliquent flumina fontes. 

Riphaeas hue solve nives, hue stagna lacusque 

Et pigras, ubicumque iacent, effunde paludes, 

Et miseras bellis civilibus eripe terras. 12C 

Sed parvo Fortuna viri contenta pavore 
Plena redit, solitoque magis favere secundi 
Et veniam meruere dei. lam rarior aer 
Et par Phoebus aquis densas in vellera nubes 
Sparserat, et noctes ventura luce rubebant, 121 

Servatoque loco rerum discessit ab astris 
Umor, et ima petit, quidquid pendebat aquarum. 
Tollere silva comas, stagnis emergere colles 
Incipiunt, visoque die durescere valles. 

^rThe Antarctic region is meant. 
* I.e. next in power to Jupiter. 



drives back with superior strength the tides of ocean. 
Night, curtaining the sky, is not conscious of sun- 
rise ; all natural distinctions are upset by the hideous 
aspect of the heaven and by darkness following on 
night. Such is the region that lies lowest in the 
world ^ under the snowy zone and perpetual winter : 
no stars are visible there ; its barren cold can pro- 
duce nothing, but its ice lessens the heat of the 
equatorial Signs. O supreme Father of the universe, 
and O Neptune, to whom the second lot^ gave power 
over the trident of ocean, be such your will ! May 
the one god devote the sky to perpetual rain, and 
the other prevent every tide he has sent forth from 
ebbing again ! May rivers find no downward passage 
to the shore but be driven back by the waters of 
the sea ! May the earth shake and enlarge the 
path of the rivers ! May the Rhine and the Rhone 
flood the fields of Spain ! May the rivers turn aslant 
their immense springs ! Pour hither the melted 
snows of the Riphaean mountains and the water 
from every mere and lake and stagnant marsh in 
all the world, and snatch away this hapless land 
from civil war. 

But now Fortune, contented with having fright- 
ened her favourite a little, came back in full force ; 
and the gods earned pardon by an exceptional 
exercise of their support. By this time the sky 
had cleared ; the sun, a match for the waters, had 
broken up the thick clouds into fleeces ; and the 
nights grew red as dawn came on. The elements 
took up their proper station : the moisture left the 
firmament, and all the waters that were overhead 
took the lowest room. Trees began to lift their 
foliage, hills to rise above the floods, and valleys to 



Utque habuit ripas Sicoris camposque reliquit, 130 

Primum cana salix madefacto vimine parvam 

Texitur in puppim caesoque inducta iuvenco 

Vectoris patiens tumidum super emicat amnem. 

Sic Venetus stagnante Pado fusoque Britannus 

Navigat Oceano ; sic^ cum tenet omnia Nil us, 135 

Conseritur bibula Memphitis cumba papyro. 

His ratibus traiecta manus festinat utrimque 

Succisum curvare nemus^ fluviique ferocis 

Incrementa timens non primis robora ripis 

Inposuit, medios pontem distendit in agros. 140 

Ac, ne quid Sicoris repetitis audeat undis, 

Spargitur in sulcos et scisso gurgite rivis 

Dat poenas maioris aquae. Postquam omnia fatis 

Caesaris ire videt, celsam Petreius 

Deserit et noti diffisus viribus orbis 14fi 

Indomitos quaerit populos et semper in arma 

Mortis amore feros, et tendit in ultima mundi, 

Nudatos Caesar colles desertaque castra 
Conspiciens capere arma iubet nee quaerere pontem 
Nee vada, sed duris fluvium superare lacertis. 160 

Paretur, rapuitque ruens in proelia miles 
Quod fugiens timuisset iter. Mox uda receptis 
Membra fovent armis gelidosque a gurgite cursu 
Restituunt artus, donee decresceret umbra 

^ By this is meant centrals Spain. 


grow solid at the sight of sunlight. And as soon 
as the Sicoris left the plains and had banks again, 
osiers of hoary willow were steeped and plaited to 
form small boats, which, when covered with the 
skin of a slain ox, carried passengers and rode high 
over the swollen river. In such craft the Venetian 
navigates the flooded Po, and the Briton his wide 
Ocean ; and so, when Nile covers the land, the 
boats of Memphis are framed of thirsty papyrus. 
In these boats Caesar's soldiers were ferried over; 
in haste they began to cut down trees and form 
them into an arch on both banks ; but, fearing a 
spate of the headstrong river, instead of placing their 
wooden bridge close by the margin, they carried it 
far into the fields. Also, that the Sicoris might 
never again wax bold with a renewal of its flood, it 
was divided into channels and punished for its over- 
flow by having its waters split up into canals. 
When Petreius saw that Caesar's destiny was 
carrying all before it, he left Ilerda on the hill : 
distrusting the resources of the known world, he 
sought untamed peoples, whom contempt of death 
makes ever eager for battle ; and he moved on 
towards the world's end.^ 

When Caesar saw the hills bare and the camp 
deserted, he bade his men arm and cross the river 
by hard swimming, without looking for either bridge 
or ford ; and they obeyed. The soldier, when 
rushing into battle, was eager for the passage which 
he would have feared if retreating. Soon they put 
on their arms again and dry their limbs; they 
march in haste to warm their frames chilled from 
the river, until the shadows grow shorter as day 
rises to its height. And now the cavalry were 



In medium surgente die ; iamque agmina summa 156 
Carpit eques, dubiique fugae pugnaeque tenentur. 

AttoUunt campo geminae iuga saxea rupes 
Valle cava media ; tellus hinc ardua celsos 
Continuat colles^ tutae quos inter opaco 
Anfractu latuere viae ; quibus hoste potito 160 

Faueibus emitti terrarum in devia Martem 
Inque feras gentes Caesar videt. '' Ite sine ullo 
Ordine " ait "raptumque fuga convertite bellum 
Et faciem pugnae voltusque inferte minaces ; 
Nee liceat pavidis ignava occumbere morte : 166 

Excipiant recto fugientes pectore ferrum." 
Dixit et ad montes tendentem praevenit hostem. 
Illic exiguo paulum distantia vallo 
Castra locant. Postquam spatio languentia nullo 
Mutua conspicuos habuerunt lumina voltus, 170 

[Hie fratres natosque suos videre patresque,] ^ 
Deprensum est civile nefas. Tenuere parumper 
Ora metu, tantum nutu motoque salutant 
Ense suos. Mox, ut stimulis maioribus ardens 
Rupit amor leges, audet transcendere vallum 175 

Miles, in amplexus efFusas tendere palmas. 
Hospitis ille ciet nomen, vocat ille propinqiium, 
Admonet hunc studiis consors puerilibus aetas ; 
Nee Romanus erat, qui non agnoverat hostem. 
Arma rigant lacrimis, singultibus oscula rumpunt, 180 
Et quamvis nullo maculatus sanguine miles 

* 171 {Here they saw their brothers, sons and fathers) has little 
MS. authority and was ejected by Oudendorp. 

* I.e. ** discipline." 


harassing the rear of the enemy, who were held 
there, doubting whether to fight or flee. 

Two cliffs raised their rocky ridges on the plain, 
leaving a hollow valley between. From that point 
the earth rises into a continuous range of lofty hills, 
among which a shadowed winding route was con- 
cealed and offered safety. Caesar saw that if the 
enemy reached that gorge, the war would slip from 
his hands and be transferred to outlandish regions 
and savage nations. " On with you, without keep- 
ing ranks," he cried, " and turn back the war which 
their flight has stolen from you ; bring against them 
battle array and menacing countenances ; frightened 
as they are, let them die no coward's death but 
meet the sword in front, even while they flee." 
Thus he spoke and outstripped the enemy as they 
sought to gain the mountains. There the two 
camps with low ramparts were pitched not far 
apart. When their eyes met, undimmed by distance, 
and they saw each other's faces clearly, then the 
horror of civil war was unmasked. For a short time 
fear^ kept them silent, and they greeted their 
friends only by nodding their heads and waving 
their swords ; but soon, when warm affection burst 
the bonds of discipline with stronger motives, the 
men ventured to climb over the palisade and stretch 
out eager hands for embraces. One hails a friend 
by name, another accosts a kinsman; the time 
spent in the same boyish pursuits recalls a face to 
memory; and he who had found no acquaintance 
among the foe was no true Koman. They be- 
sprinkle their weapons with tears ; sobs interrupt 
their embraces ; though stained by no bloodshed, 
they dread the deeds they might have done already. 



Quae potuit fecisse timet. Quid pectora pulsas ? 

Quid, vaesane, gemis? fletus quid fundis inanes 

Nee te sponte tua sceleri parere fateris ? 

Usque adeone times, quern tu facis ipse timendum? 186 

Classica det bello, saevos tu neglege cantus ; 

Signa ferat, cessa : lam iam civilis Erinys 

Concidet, et Caesar generum privatus amabit. 

Nunc ades, aeterno conplectens omnia nexu, 
O rerum mixtique salus Concordia mundi 19C 

Et sacer orbis amor ; magnum nunc saecula nostra 
Venturi discrimen habent. Periere latebrae 
Tot scelerum, populo venia est erepta nocenti : 
Agnovere suos. Pro numine fata sinistro 
Exigua requie tantas augentia clades ! 19< 

Pax erat, et miles castris permixtus utrisque 
Errabat ; duro concorjdes caespite mensas ; 

Instituunt et permixto libamina Baccho ; 
Graminei luxere foci, iunctoque cubili 
Extrahit insomnes bellorum fabula noctes, 20C 

Quo primum steterint campo, qua lancea dextra 
Exierit. Dum quae gesserunt fortia iactant 
Et dum multa iiegant, quod solum fata petebant, 
Est miseris renovata fides, atque omne futurum 
Crevit amore nefas. Nam postquam foedera pacis 20fi 
Cognita Petreio seque et sua tradita venum 
Castra videt, famulas scelerata ad proelia dextras 
1 88 


Fool ! why beat your breast and groan and shed 
unavailing tears ? Why not confess that you obey 
the command of crime by your own will? Do you 
dread so greatly the leader whom you alone make 
dreadful ? If he sound the bugle for war, be deaf 
to its cruel note ; if he advance his standards, 
stay still. Then in a moment the frenzy of civil 
war will collapse, and Caesar, in private station, will 
be friends with his daughter's husband. 

Be present now, tliou that embracest all things in 
an eternal bond. Harmony, the preserver of the 
world and the blended universe ! Be present, thou 
hallowed Love that unitest the world ! For at 
this moment our age can exercise a mighty influence 
upon the future. The disguise of all that wicked- 
ness has been torn off, and a guilty nation has been 
robbed of all excuse : the men have recognised their 
kinsmen. A curse on Fortune, whose malignant 
power uses a brief respite to make great calamities 
still greater I There was peace, and the men made 
friends and strolled about in either camp ; they 
began friendly meals together and outpourings of 
blended wine, sitting on the hard ground ; the fire 
burned on turf-built hearths ; where they lay side by 
side, tales of the war went on through all the sleep- 
less night — on what field they first fought, by what 
force of hand their javelin was launched. But while 
they boast of their brave actions and deny the truth 
of many tales, their friendship, alas ! was renewed, 
which was all that Fortune desired, and all their 
future wickedness was made worse by their recon- 
ciliation. — For when Petreius heard of the peaceful 
compact and saw that he and his forces had been 
sold, he armed his slaves for infamous warfare. 


Excitat atque hostes turba stipatus inermes 

Praecipitat castris iunctosque amplexibus ense 

Separat et multo disturbat sanguine pacem. 210 

Addidit ira ferox moturas proelia voces : 

" Inmemor o patriae, signorura oblite tuorum, 

Non potes hoc causae, miles, praestare, senatus 

Adsertor victo redeas ut Caesare ? certe, 

Ut vincare, potes. Dum ferrum, incertaque fata, 216 

Quique fluat multo non derit volnere sanguis, 

Ibitis ad dominum damnataque signa feretis, 

Utque habeat famulos nuUo discrimine Caesar, 

Exorandus erit ? ducibus quoque vita petita est ? 

Numquam nostra salus pretinm mercesque nefandae 220 

Proditionis erit ; non hoc civilia bella, 

Ut vivamus, agunt. Trahimur sub nomine pacis. 

Non chalybem gentes penitus fugiente metallo 

Eruerent, nulli vallarent oppida muri, 

Non sonipes in bella ferox, non iret in aequor 226 

Turrigeras classis pelago sparsura carinas. 

Si bene libertas umquam pro pace daretur. 

Hostes nempe meos sceleri iurata nefando 

Sacramenta tenent ; at vobis vilior hoc est 

Vestra fides, quod pro causa pugnantibus aequa 230 

Et veniam sperare licet. Pro dira pudoris 

Funera ! nunc toto fatorum ignarus in orbe, 

Magne, paras acies mundique extrema tenentes 

Sollicitas reges, cum forsan foedere nostro 

lam tibi sit promissa salus." Sic fatur et omnes 235 



Surrounded by this band, he hurled the unarmed 
enemy out of the camp, separated the embrace of 
friends by the sword, and sliattered the peace with 
much shedding of blood. His fierce anger prompted 
speech that was sure to provoke a fray : " Soldiers, 
regardless of your country and forgetful of your 
standards, if you cannot, in the cause of the Senate, 
conquer Caesar and return as liberators, you can at 
least be conquered for their sake. While your 
swords are left and the future is uncertain, and 
while you have blood enough to flow from many a 
wound, will you go over to a master and carry the 
standards which you once condemned } Must 
Caesar be implored to treat you no worse than his 
other slaves .'' Have you begged quarter for your 
generals also.? Never shall our lives be the price 
and wages of foul treason. Our life is not the 
object of civil war. Undej a pretence of peace we 
are dragged into captivity. Men would not dig out 
iron in the deep-burrowing mine, cities would not be 
fortified with walls, the spirited charger would not 
rush to battle, nor the fleet be launched to send 
turreted ships all over the sea, if it were ever right 
to barter freedom for peace. My foes, it seems, are 
true to the oath they swore — an oath which binds 
them to crime unspeakable ; but you hold your 
allegiance cheaper, because you are fighting for a 
righteous cause and may therefore hope even for — 
pardon ! Alas ! that Honour should die so foul a 
death. At this moment Magnus, ignorant of his 
fate, is raising armies all over the world and rousing 
up kings who inhabit the ends of the earth, though 
perhaps our treaty has already bargained for his 
mere life." — His words worked strongly upon every 



Concussit mentes scelerumque reduxit amorem. 
Sic, ubi desuetae silvis in carcere cluso 
Mansuevere ferae et voltus posuere minaces 
Atque hominem didicere pati, si torrida parvus 
Venit in ora cruor, redeunt rabiesque furorque, 240 

Admonitaeque tument gustato sanguine fauces ; 
Fervet et a trepido vix abstinet ira magistro. 
Itur in omne nefas, et, quae Fortuna deorum 
Invidia caeca bellorum in nocte tulisset, 
Fecit monstra fides. Inter mensasque torosque, 246 
Quae modo conplexu foverunt, pectora caedunt; 
Et quamvis primo ferrum strinxere gementes, 
Ut dextrae iusti gladius dissuasor adhaesit, 
Dum feriunt, odere suos animosque labantes 
Confirmant ictu. Fervent iam castra tumultu, 250 

Ac velut occultum pereat'scelus, omnia monstra 
In facie posuere ducum ; iuvat esse nocentes. 
Tu, Caesar, quamvis spoliatus milite multo, 
Agnoscis superos ; neque enim tibi maior in arvis 256 
Emathiis fortuna fuit nee Phocidos undis 
Massiliae, Phario nee tantum est aequore gestum. 
Hoc siquidem solo civilis crimine belli 
Dux causae melioris eris. Polluta nefanda 
Agmina caede duces iunctis committere castris 260 

Non audent, altaeque ad moenia rursus Ilerdae 
Intendere fugam. Campos eques obvius omnes 
Abstulit et siccis inclusit collibus hostem. 

1 At the battle of Pharsalia. 
8 Where Pompey was killed. 


BOOK IV ?^' 

heart and brought back the love of crime. So, when 
wild beasts have lost the habit of the woods and 
grown tame in a narrow prison^ they lose their grim 
aspect and learn to submit to man ; but, if a drop of 
blood finds its way to their thirsty mouths, their rage 
and fury return, and their throats, reminded of their 
old life by the taste of blood, swell again ; their anger 
boils up and scarcely spares their frightened keeper. 
The soldiers proceed to every crime ; and horrors, 
which, to the discredit of the gods, Fortune might 
have brought about in the blind obscurity of battle, 
are wrought by loyal obedience. Among the 
tables and couches they pierce the very breasts 
which they lately embraced. And though they 
groaned at first when baring the steel, yet when the 
sword, that counsellor of evil, clings to their grasp, 
they hate the friends whom they strike, and their 
blows confirm their wavering purpose. The camp now 
seethes with uproar ; and, as if a secret crime 
would be wasted, they set every horror before the 
eyes of their commanders ; they glory in their 

Caesar, though robbed of many soldiers, recognised 
the hand of heaven. Never indeed was he more 
fortunate, either on the Emathian plain ^ or on the 
sea of Phocian Massilia ; nor did the coast of 
Egypt 2 witness so great a triumph, inasmuch as he, 
thanks to this one crime of civil war, will be 
henceforward the leader of the better cause. The 
leaders dared not entrust their troops, stained with 
hideous bloodshed, to a camp near Caesar's, but 
directed their flight back to the walls of lofty Ilerda. 
Caesar's cavalry met them and drove them off the 
plains and cooped them up among waterless hills. 



Tunc inopes undae praerupta cingere fossa 
Caesar a vet nee castra pati contingere ripas 
Aut circum largos curvari bracchia fontes. 

Ut leti videre viam, conversus in iram 
Praecipitem timor est. Miles non utile clausis 
Auxilium maetavit equos, tandemque coactus 
Spe posita damnare fugam casurus in hostes 
Fertur. Ut efFuso Caesar decurrere passu 
Vidit et ad certam devotos tendere mortem, 
" Tela tene iam, miles," ait " ferrumque ruenti 
Subtrahe : non ullo eonstet mihi sanguine bellum. 
Vincitur baud gratis, iugulo qui provocat hostem. 
En, sibi vilis adest invisa luce iuventus 
lam damno peritura meo ; non sentiet ictus, 
Incumbet gladiis, gaudebit sanguine fuso. 
Deserat hie fervor mentes, cadat impetus amens, 
Perdant velle mori." Sic deflagrare minaces 
Incassum et vetito passus languescere bello, 
Substituit merso dum nox sua lumina Phoebo. 
Inde, ubi nulla data est miscendae copia mortis, 
Paulatim fugit ira ferox mentesque tepescunt ; 
Saucia maiores animos ut pectora gestant, 
Dum dolor est ictusque recens et mobile nervis 
Conamen calidus praebet cruor ossaque nondura 
Adduxere cutem : si conscius ensis adacti 
Stat victor tenuitque manus, turn frigidus artus 
Alligat atque animum subducto robore torpor, 

* A gladiator is meant. 


Next Caesar eagerly attempts to surround them, in 
their lack of water, with a steep trench ; he will not 
suffer their camp to reach the river banks or their 
outworks to enclose abundant springs. 

When the soldiers saw the path to death before 
them, their fear was changed to headlong ardour. 
Having slaughtered their horses, as powerless to 
help men besieged, they were forced at last to 
abandon hope and reject flight, and rushed upon the 
foe with intent to perish. When Caesar saw the 
devoted warriors coming on at full speed to meet 
inevitable death, he called to his men, '' Hold your 
weapons for a time and withdraw the sword from 
him who rushes to meet it ; no lives of my own men 
must be lost in the battle ; he who challenges the 
foe with his life costs his victor dear. See ! they 
come, hating life and holding themselves cheap, and 
I must pay for their deaths : insensible to wounds, 
they will fling themselves on the sword and rejoice 
to shed their blood. This excitement must calm 
down ; this wild enthusiasm must flag ; they must 
lose their wish to die." So by refusing battle he 
suffered their threats to burn down to nothing and 
dwindle away, while the sun set and night replaced 
his light with her own. Then, when no chance was 
given them to kill and be killed, their ardour left 
them by degrees and their minds lost heat. So a 
wounded man ^ has higher courage, while his wound 
and his pain are fresh, and while the warm blood 
lends active force to the muscles, and before the 
skin has shrunk over the bones ; but, if the con- 
queror, aware that his sword has gone home, stands 
still and refrains from striking, then cold numbness 
binds both mind and body and steals strength away, 



Postquam sicca rigens astrinxit volnera sanguis, 
lamque inopes undae primum tellure refossa 
Occultos latices abstrusaque flumina quaerunt ; 
Nee solum rastris durisque ligonibus arva 
Sed gladiis fodere suis, puteusque cavati 295 

Montis ad inrigui premitur fastigia campi. 
Non se tarn penitus, tarn longe luce relicta 
Merserit Astyrici scrutator pallidus auri. 
Non tamen aut tectis sonuerunt cursibus amnes, 
Aut micuere novi percusso pumice fontes, 300 

Antra neque exiguo stillant sudantia rore, 
Aut inpulsa levi turbatur glarea vena. 
Tunc exhausta super multo sudore iuventus 
Extrahitur duris silicum lassata metallis ; 
Quoque minus possent siccos tolerare vapores, 305 

Quaesitae fecistis aquae. Nee languida fessi 
Corpora sustentant epulis, mensasque perosi 
Auxilium fecere famem. Si mollius arvum 
Prodidit umorem, pingues manus utraque glaebas 
Exprimit ora super ; nigro si turbida limo 310 

Conluvies inmota iacet, cadit omnis in haustus 
Certatim obscaenos miles moriensque recepit 
Quas nollet victurus aquas ; rituque ferarum 
Distentas siccant pecudes, et lacte negato 
Sordidus exhausto sorbetur ab ubere sanguis. 315 

Tunc herbas frondesque terunt et rore madentes 
Destringunt ramos et si quos pal mite crude 
Arboris aut tenera sucos pressere medulla. 
O fortunati, fugiens quos barbarus hostis 
Fontibus inmixto stravit per rura veneno. 320 

Hos licet in fluvios saniem tabemque ferarum, 


after the congealing blood has closed the drying 
wounds. And now, in their shortage of water, they 
begin by digging in search of hidden springs and 
underground streams ; as well as iron rakes and picks 
they use their swords to pierce the soil ; and wells 
in the excavated hillside are sunk to the level of 
the watered plain. I'he pale searcher after Asturian 
gold would not bury himself so deep, or leave day- 
light so far behind. But there was no sound of 
rivers with hidden courses, no new springs gushed 
from the smitten rock, no dripping caves oozed forth 
a scanty moisture, no gravel was stirred and lifted 
even by a slender vein of water. Then the men 
are hauled up to the surface, worn out with heavy 
labour and wearied by mining in the flint ; and their 
quest for water has made them less able to endure 
the drought and heat. Nor was their bodily weak- 
ness and weariness supported by food : they abhorred 
all meat and called in hunger to help them against 
thirst. Wherever soft soil betrayed moisture, they 
squeezed the oozy clods over their mouths with both 
hands. Where pools of stagnant filth were caked 
with black mire, each man fell down eager for the 
foul draught, and dying swallowed water which, with 
a prospect of life, he would have refused ; like wild 
beasts they drained the swollen udders of cattle, 
and, if milk was denied, sucked the pallid blood 
from the empty teats. Next, they pounded grass 
and leaves, and stripped the dew off branches, and 
brushed off any moisture they could squeeze from 
the green shoots or soft pith of trees. 

Happy are those whom a barbarian foe, as he fled, 
has laid low upon the fields by mingling poison in the 
springs. Into the Spanish rivers Caesar may pour 



Pallida Dictaeis, Caesar, nascentia saxis 

Infundas aconita palam, Romana iuventus 

Non decepta bibet. Torrentur viscera flamma, 

Oraque sicca rigent squamosis aspera Unguis ; 325 

lam marcent venae, nuUoque umore rigatus 

Aeris alternos angustat pulmo meatus, 

Rescissoque nocent suspiria dura palato ; 

Pandunt ora tamen nociturumque ^ aera captant. 

Expectant imbres, quorum modo cuncta natabant 330 

Inpulsu, et siccis voltus in nubibus haerent. 

Quoque magis miseros undae ieiunia solvant, 

Non super arentem Meroen Cancrique sub axe. 

Qua nudi Garamantes arant, sedere, sed inter 

Stagnantem Sicorim et rapidum deprensus Hiberum 336 

Spectat vicinos sitiens exercitus amnes. 

lam domiti cessere duces, pacisque petendae 
Auctor damnatis supplex Afranius armis 
Semianimes in castra trahens hostilia turmas 
Victoris stetit ante pedes. Servata precanti 340 

Maiestas non fracta malis, interque priorem 
Fortunam casusque novos gerit omnia victi, 
Sed ducis, et veniam securo pectore poscit : 
" Si me degeneri stravissent fata sub hoste, 
Non derat fortis rapiendo dextera leto. 346 

At nunc causa mihi est orandae sola salutis, 
Dignum donanda, Caesar, te credere vita. 
Non partis studiis agimur nee sumpsimus arma 

^ nociturum Vorville : nocturnum MSB, 


without concealment gore and the carrion of wild 
beasts, and the deadly aconite which grows on the 
rocks of Crete ; and Roman soldiers will drink with 
their eyes open. Their inward parts are burnt with 
fire ; their mouths are dry and hard, and rough with 
scaly tongues ; by now their pulses flag, and their lungs, 
wetted by no moisture, choke the passage of air to 
and fro ; and their difficult breathing is painful to 
their cracked palates ; yet still they open their mouths, 
eager for the air that will prove their bane. They 
hope for rain — rain, whose downpour lately flooded 
all the land ; and they fix their gaze on the rainless 
clouds. And, that the water-famine may break 
them down still more in their misery, their camp is 
not pitched beyond burning Meroe and beneath the 
sign of Cancer, where the naked Garamantes dwell ; 
but the army, entrapped between the brimming 
Sicoris and the rapid Hiberus, can see the rivers 
close at hand while dying of thirst. 

At last the leaders were overcome and yielded : 
Afranius advised that terms should be sought ; 
despairing of resistance, he took with him squadrons 
of half-dead men to the enemy's camp, and stood in 
supplication before the conqueror's feet. The 
suppliant maintained his dignity unbroken by 
disaster ; between his former high position and his 
recent misfortune, he had all the bearing of a 
general, though a defeated general, and he asked 
pardon with a mind at ease : " Had Fortune laid me 
low beneath an unworthy foeman, my own strong 
arm would not have failed to snatch death by 
violence ; as it is, my sole reason for begging life is 
that I consider you, Caesar, worthy to grant it. We 
are not moved by party spirit ; nor did we take up 



Consiliis inimica tuis. Nos denique bellum 
Invenit civile duces, causaeque priori, 350 

Diim potuit, servata fides. Nil fata moramur : 
Tradimus Hesperias gentes, aperimus Eoas, 
Securumqiie orbis patimur post terga relicti. 
Nee cruor effusus campis tibi bella peregit 
Nee ferrum lassaeque manus : hoc hostibus unum, 355 
Quod vincas, ignosce tuis. Nee magna petuntur : 
Otia des fessis, vitam patiaris inermes 
Degere quam tribuis. Campis prostrata iacere 
Agmina nostra putes ; nee enim felicibus armis 
Misceri damnata decet, partemque triumphi 360 

Captos ferre tui ; turba haec sua fata peregit. 
Hoc petimus, victos ne tecum vincere cogas." 
Dixerat ; at Caesar facilis voltuque serenus 
Fleetitur atque usus belli poenamque remittit. 
Ut primum iustae placuerunt foedera pacis, 366 

Incustoditos decurrit miles ad amiies, 
Incumbit ripis permissaque flumina turbat. 
Continuus multis subitarum tractus aquarum 
Aera non passus vacuis discurrere venis 
Artavit clausitque animam ; nee fervida pestis 370 

Cedit ad hue, sed morbus egens iam gurgite plenis 
Visceribus sibi poscit aquas. Mox robora nervis 
Et vires rediere viris. O prodiga rerum 
Luxuries numquam parvo con ten ta paratis 


arms in opposition to your designs. In fact, the 
civil war found us at the head of an army ; and, 
while we could, we were loyal to our former cause. 
We make no attempt to hinder destiny ; to you we 
surrender the nations of the West and open the way 
to the East ; we enable you to feel no anxiety for 
the region you leave in your rear. Your victory has 
not been gained by blood poured forth upon the 
plains, nor by the sword plied till the arm was 
weary ; pardon your foes their one crime — that you 
are victorious over us. We do not ask much : only 
give rest to the weary, and suffer those to whom you 
grant life to spend it unarmed. Deem that our ranks 
lie prostrate on the field ; for captives must not share 
in your triumph, nor warriors condemned by fate be 
mingled with conquerors : my army has completed its 
own destiny. This we beg — that you will not 
compel us whom you have conquered to conquer 
along with you." 

Thus he spoke ; and Caesar readily gave way with 
unclouded brow ; he excused them from service in 
his army and from all punishment. As soon as the 
treaty of peace was settled in due form, the men 
rushed down to the unguarded rivers, lay down upon 
the banks, and made muddy the streams thrown 
open to them. While they gulped down the water, 
the uninterru})ted draught prevented the air from 
passing through the empty arteries : it contracted 
and blocked the windpipes of many ; nor does the 
burning plague yet abate, but the craving malady 
demands yet more when the stomach is full of 
water already. Soon the muscles recovered power, 
and the soldiers grew strong again. O Luxury, ex- 
travagant of resources and never satisfied with what 



Et quaesitorum terra pelagoque ciborum 376 

Ambitiosa fames et lautae gloria mensae, 

Discite, quam parvo liceat producere vitam 

Et quantum natura petat. Non erigit aegros 

Nobilis ignoto diffusus consule Bacchus, 

Non auro murraque bibunt, sed gurgite puro 380 

Vita redit. Satis est populis fluviusque Ceresque. 

Heu miseri, qui bella gerunt ! Tunc arma relinquens 
Victor! miles spoliato pectore tutus 
Innocuusque suas curarum liber in urbes 
Spargitur. O quantum donata pace potitos 385 

Excussis umquam ferrum vibrasse lacertis 
Paenituit, tolerasse sitim frustraque rogasse 
Prospera bella deos ! Nempe usis Marte secundo 
Tot dubiae restant acies, tot in orbe labores ; 
Ut numquam fortuna labet successibus anceps, 390 

Vincendum totiens ; terras fundendus in omnes 
Est cruor et Caesar per tot sua fata sequendus. 
Felix, qui potuit mundi nutante ruina 
Quo iaceat lam scire loco. Non proelia fessos 
Ulla vocant, certos non rumpunt classica somnos. 395 
lam coniunx natique rudes et sordida tecta 
Et non deductos recipit sua terra colonos. 
Hoc quoque securis oneris fortuna remisit, 
Sollicitus menti quod abest favor : ille salutis 
Est auctor, dux ille fuit Sic proelia soli 400 



costs little ; and ostentatious hunger for dainties 
sought over land and sea; and ye who take pride 
in delicate eating — hence ye may learn how little 
it costs to prolong life, and how little nature de- 
mands. No famous vintage, bottled in the year of 
a long forgotten consul, restores these to health ; 
they drink not out of gold or agate, but gain new 
life from pure water ; running water and bread are 
enough for mankind. 

Alas for those who still fight on ! These men 
abandon their arms to the conqueror ; safe, though 
they are stripped of their breast-plates, harmless 
and free from care, they are scattered among their 
native cities. Now that they possess the gift of 
peace, how much they regret that they ever hurled 
the steel with vigorous arms, and endured thirst, 
and prayed mistakenly to the gods for victory ! For 
the victors, it is sure, so many doubtful battles 
and hardships over all the world still lie ahead ; 
even though Fortune never fail — Fortune fickle in 
her favours — still they must conquer again and again, 
and shed their blood on every land, and follow 
Caesar through all his chances and changes. When 
the whole world is nodding to its fall, happy the 
man who has been able to learn already the lowly 
place appointed for him. No battles call them from 
where they rest ; no trumpet-call breaks their sound 
slumbers. They are welcomed now by their wives 
and innocent babes, by their simple dwellings and 
their native soil, nor are they settled there as 
colonists. Of another burden too Fortune relieves 
them : their minds are rid of the trouble of partisan- 
ship ; for, if Caesar granted them their lives, Pompey 
was once their leader. Thus they alone are happy, 



Felices nullo spectant civilia voto. 

Non eadem belli totum fortuna per orbem 
Constitit, in partes aliquid sed Caesaris ausa est. 
Qua maris Hadriaci longas ferit unda Salonas 
Et tepidum in molles Zephyros excurrit lader, 406 

Illic bellaci confisus gente Curictum, 
Quos alit Hadriaco tellus circumflua ponto, 
Clauditur extrema residens Antonius ora, 
Cautus ab incursu belli, si sola recedat, 
Expugnat quae tuta, fames. Non pabula tellus 4 

Pascendis summittit equis, non proserit ullam 
Flava Ceres segetem ; spoliarat ^ gramine campum 
Miles et attonso miseris iam dentibus arvo 
Castrorum siccas de caespite volserat herbas. 
Ut primum adversae socios in litore terrae 4 

Et Basil um videre ducem, nova furta per aequor 
Exquisita fugae. Neque enim de more carinas 
Extendunt puppesque levant, sed firma gerendis 
Molibus insolito contexunt robora ductu. 
Namque ratem vacuae sustentant undique cupae, 4 
Quarura porrectis series constricta catenis 
Ordinibus geminis obliquas excipit alnos ; 
Nee gerit expositum telis in fronte patenti 
Remigium, sed, quod trabibus circumdedit aequor, 
Hoc ferit et taciti praebet miracula cursus, 425 

Quod nee vela ferat nee apertas verberet undas. 

^ spoliarat Quietus : spoliabat MSS. 

^ The town, not the river, of that name. 

* Curicta is an island off the coast of Illyricum. 

3 C. Antonius, brother of the triumvir, commanded a body 

of Caesar's troops on the island ; Basilus with more of 



looking on at civil war with no prayer for the success 
of either. 

The fortune of war did not remain unchanged all 
the world over, but dared to strike one blow against 
Caesar's side. Where the Adriatic wave beats on 
the straggling town of Salonae, and where mild 
lader^ runs out towards the soft West winds, there 
Antonius, trusting in the warlike race of the 
Curictae/ who dwell in an island surrounded by the 

' Adriatic waters, was pent up within his camp on 
the edge of the shore. He was safe against armed 
attack, if only he could keep famine at bay — famine 
which takes the impregnable fortress. The earth 
sends up no fodder to feed his horses ; golden Ceres 

I iputs forth no corn there ; the soldiers had robbed 
the field of its grass; and, when they had nibbled 
the blades close with starving teeth, they had torn 
the withered tutXs from the sods that formed the 
camp. As soon as they saw a friendly force com- 
manded by Basilus ^ on the mainland opposite, they 

^ devised a novel plan to steal in flight across the 
deep. They built no long hulls, no high sterns, as 
the custom is, but joined stout planks together on 
unwonted lines to carry heavy structures. This 
raft rested entirely upon empty barrels, a succession 
K-.of which, lashed together in double rows by long 
chains, supported the planks laid transversely across 
them. Nor were the rowers she carried exposed to 
missiles along an open front ; but they struck the 
water enclosed by the timbers ; and the raft pre- 

ir- sented the puzzle of mysterious motion, because it 
carried no sail and did not thrash the waves visibly. 

**' Caesar's men was at some point on the mainland ; and M. 
Octavius, Pompey's admiral, held the coast. 



Turn freta servantur, dum se declivibus undis 

Aestus agat refluoque mari nudentur harenae. 

lamque relabenti crescebant litora ponto : 

Missa ratis prono defertur lapsa profundo 430 

Et geminae comites. Cunctas super ardua tiirris 

Eminet et tremulis tabu lata minantia pinnis. 

Noluit Illyricae custos Octavius undae 

Confestim temptare ratem, celeresque carinas 

Continuit, cursu crescat dum praeda secundo, 435 

Et temere ingressos repetendum invitat ad aequor 

I'ace maris. Sic, dum pavidos formidine cervos 

C'laudat odoratae metuentes aera pinnae, 

Aut dum dispositis attoUat retia varis, 

Venator tenet ora levis clamosa Molossi, 440 

Spartanos Cretasque ligat, nee creditur ulli 

Silva cani, nisi qui presso vestigia rostro 

Colligit et praeda nescit latrare reperta, 

Contentus tremulo monstrasse cubilia loro. 

Nee mora, conplentur moles, avideque petitis 446 

Insula deseritur ratibus, quo tempore primas 

Inpedit ad noctem iam lux extrema tenebras. 

At Pompeianus fraudes innectere ponto 

Antiqua parat arte Cilix, passusque vacare 

Summa freti medio suspend it vincula ponto 450 

Et laxe fluitare sinit, religatque catenas 

Rupis ab Illyricae scopulis. Nee prima nee illam 

Quae sequitur tardata ratis, sed tertia moles 

"^ formido, "scare," was the name given to an arrangement 
of coloured feathers, which prevented hunted animals from 
breaking through. 



Next they watched the sea till the time when the 
tide should move with downward-flowing waters and 
the sand be left bare by the ebb. So, when the sea 
began to flow back and the shore to grow, the raft 
was launched and sped gliding down the current, 
and her two consorts with her. High above each 
rose a tower and stages that threatened with nodding 
battlements. Octavius, who guarded the Illyrian 
waters, would not at once attack the raft, but held 
his swift ships back, until his prey should be increased 
by a prosperous passage. When they had begun their 
rash venture, he encouraged them, by leaving the sea 
open, to try a second voyage. So the hunter pro- 
ceeds : until he pens in the stags, alarmed by the 
" scare "^ and dreading the scent of the tainted 
feathers, or until he sets up his nets on the line 
of props, he shuts the noisy mouth of the swift 
Molossian hound, and keeps in leash the hounds of 
Sparta and Crete ; the only dog allowed to range the 
forest is he who puzzles out the scent with nose to 
the ground and never thinks of barking when his 
prey is discovered, content to indicate the creature's 
lair by tugging at the leash. Soon the hulks are 
manned ; eagerly they embark on the rafts and 
abandon the island ; it was the time when the last 
lingering light hinders the first darkness from bring- 
ing on the night. But the Cilicians in Pompey's 
pay, resorting to their ancient skill, prepared to lay 
a trap in the sea. Leaving the surface empty, they 
hung ropes at half the depth of the water and 
suffered them to drift about at large, and bound 
the cables to the cliffs of the Illyrian shore. 
Neither the first raft nor the second was hampered, 
but the third hulk stuck fast and was drawn to the 



Haesit et ad cautes adducto fune secuta est. 
Inpendent cava saxa mari, ruituraque semper 456 

Stat — mirum — moles et silvis aequor inumbrat. 
Hue fractas Aquilone rates summersaque pontus 
Corpora saepe tulit caecisque abscondit in antris ; 
Restituit raptus tectum mare, cumque cavernae 
Evomuere fretum, contorti vorticis undae 460 

Tauromenitanam vincunt fervore Charybdim. 
Hie Opiterginis moles onerata colonis 
Constitit ; banc omni puppes station e solutae 
Circumeunt, alii rupes ac litora conplent. 
Vulteius tacitas sentit sub gurgite fraudes 4G5 

— Dux erat ille ratis — frustra qui vincula ferro 
Rumpere conatus poscit spe proelia nulla 
Incertus qua terga daret, qua pectora bello. 
Hoc tamen in casu, quantum deprensa valebat, 
Effecit virtus : inter tot milia captae 470 

Circumfusa rati et plenam vix inde cohortem 
Pugna fuit, non longa quidem ; nam condidit umbra 
Nox lucem dubiam, pacemque habuere tenebrae. 

Tum sic attonitam venturaque fata paventem 
Rexit magnanima Vulteius voce cohortem : 475 

" Libera non ultra parva quam nocte inventus, 
Consulite extremis angusto in tempore rebus. 
Vita brevis nulli superest, qui tempus in ilia 
Quaerendae sibi mortis habet ; nee gloria leti 
Inferior, iuvenes, admoto occurrere fato. 480 

Omnibus incerto venturae tempore vitae, 

^ These men had been enlisted on Caesar's side at Opitergium 
in Transpadane Gaul : the " ships " are those of Octavius. 

2 Because he was surrounded by enemies. 

^ admoto : the meaning is, that the credit of suicide is not 
less when death is in any case close at hand than when it is 
further away : the idea is repeated in 11. 482, 3. 



rocks when the rope was tightened. Hollow cliffs 
overhang the sea, and their mass, ever in act to fall, 
stands marvellously firm, and shadows the water 
with trees. Hither the tide often bore ships wrecked 
by the North wind and the bodies of drowned men, 
and buried them in hidden caverns; but the sea 
beneath the rocks restored its prey, and whenever 
the caves vomited forth the tide, the waves of the 
whirling eddy surpassed the fury of Sicilian Charybdis. 
Here the hulk halted, weighed down with men of 
Opitergium ; ^ and all the ships, casting loose from 
their anchorage, surround it, while other foes cover 
the rocks and the shore. Vulteius, the captain of 
the raft, perceived the trap concealed beneath the 
water, and tried in vain to sever the ropes with his 
sword ; then he called for battle with no hope of 
victory, not knowing - on which side he was offering 
his back or his front to attack. Yet even in this 
plight valour did all that valour could do, when 
taken at a disadvantage : a battle was fought between 
the many thousands who swarmed round the captured 
raft and the men on board, who were barely six 
hundred ; but the battle soon ended ; for the shades 
of night hid the twilight, and the darkness brought 
a truce. 

Then thus Vulteius with noble speech kept his 
men steady, appalled as they were with dread of 
coming death : " Soldiers, free for no longer than 
the brief space of a night, use the short interval to 
decide upon your course in this extremity. No life 
is short that gives a man time to slay himself; nor 
does it lessen the glory of suicide to meet doom at 
close quarters.^ For all men the future of life is 
uncertain; and, though it is noble in the mind to 



Par animi laus est et, quos speraveris, annos 

Perdere et extremae momentum abrumpere lueis, 

Accersas dum fata manu ; non cogitur iillus 

Velle mori. Fuga nulla patet, stant undique nostris 486 

Intenti cives iugulis : decernite letum, 

Et metus omnis abest. Cupias^ quodcumque necesse est. 

Non tamen in caeca bellorum nube cadendum est, 

Aut cum permixtas acies sua tela tenebris 

Involvent Conferta iacent cum corpora campo, 490 

In medium mors omnis abit, perit obruta virtus : 

Nos in conspicua sociis hostique carina 

Constituere dei. Praebebunt aequora testes, 

Praebebunt terrae, summis dabit insula saxis, 

Spectabunt geminae diverse litore partes. 496 

Nescio quod nostris magnum et memorabile fatis 

Exemplum, Fortuna, paras. Quaecumque per aevum 

Exhibuit monimenta fides servataque ferro 

Militiae pietas, transisset nostra iuventus. 

Namque suis pro te gladiis incumbere, Caesar, 600 

Esse parum scimus ; sed non maiora supersunt 

Obsessis, tanti quae pignora demus amoris. 

Abscidit nostrae multum fors invida laudi. 

Quod non cum senibus capti natisque tenemur. 

Indomitos sciat esse viros timeatque furentes 506 

Et morti faciles animos et gaud eat hostis 

Non plures haesisse rates. Temptare parabunt 

Foederibus turpique volent corrumpere vita. 

O utinam, quo plus habeat mors unica famae, 

* I.e. from two different points on the shore. 

• Had opportunity been granted. 



forfeit years that you look forward to, it is no less 
noble to cut short even a moment of remaining life, 
provided that you summon death by your own act. 
No man is forced to die voluntarily. No escape is 
open to us ; our countrymen surround us, eager for 
our lives; resolve upon death, and then all fear is 
dispelled : let a man desire whatever he cannot 
avoid. Yet we are not compelled to fall on the 
blind haze of battle, or when their own missiles 
cover the confused armies with darkness. When 
the dead lie thick upon the field, each death is 
merged in a common account, and valour, thus over- 
laid, is wasted. But us the gods have placed on a 
ship that is seen by friend and foe : sea and land 
and the topmost cliffs of the island will provide 
witnesses ; the two parties from the two opposite 
shores ^ will look on. By our death Fortune designs 
some mighty and memorable example for posterity. 
Our company would have surpassed ^ all records that 
time has preserved of loyalty and military devotion, 
maintained by the sword. For we know that it is 
not enough for Caesar's men to fall upon their 
swords in his defence ; but, hemmed in as we are, 
we have no greater pledge to give of our deep 
devotion. Grudging Fortune has subtracted much 
from our glory, inasmuch as we are not held prisoners 
together with our old men and our little ones. But 
let the foe learn that our men are unconquerable; 
let him dread the mad courage that welcomes death ; 
and let him thank his stars that only one of the 
rafts stuck fast. They will try to tempt us with 
terms of peace, and will seek to bribe us by the 
offer of dishonourable life. 1 wish that they would 
promise pardon and encourage us to hope for life ; 



Promittant veniam, iubeant sperare salutem. 610 

Ne nos, cum calido fodiemus viscera ferro, 

Desperasse putent. Magna virtute merendum est, 

Caesar ut amissis inter tot milia paucis 

Hoc damnum clademque vocet. Dent fata recessum 

Emittantque licet, vitare instantia nolim. 615 

Proieci vitam, comites, totusque futurae 

Mortis agor stimulis : furor est. Agnoscere soils 

Permissum, quos iam tangit vicinia fati, 

Victurosque dei celant, ut vivere durent, 

Felix esse mori." Sic cunctas sustulit ardor 620 

Mobilium^ mentes iuvenum. Cum sidera caeli 

Ante ducis voces oculis umentibus omnes 

Aspicerent flexoque Ursae temone paverent. 

Idem, cum fortes animos praecepta subissent, 

Optavere diem. Nee segnis vergere ponto 525 

Tunc erat astra polus; nam sol Ledaea tenebat 

Sidera, vicino cum lux altissima Cancro est ; 

Nox turn Thessalicas urguebat parva sagittas. 

Detegit orta dies stantes in rupibus Histros 
Pugnacesque mari Graia cum classe Liburnos. 630 

Temptavere prius suspenso vincere bello 
Foederibus, fieret captis si dulcior ipsa 
Mortis vita mora. Stabat devota iuventus 
Damnata iam luce ferox securaque pugnae 
^ Mobilium Bentley : Nobilium MSS. 

1 Midsummer, when the sun is in Gemini and Sagittarius 
(the Archer) is above the horizon all night. 



for so our matchless death would gain greater re- 
nown, and they would not think, when they see us 
pierce our vitals with the warm steel, that we have 
abandoned hope. It requires a mighty deed of 
valour to make Caesar, when he loses a few men 
out of so many thousands, call it a disaster and a 
defeat. Should Fate now suffer me to withdraw 
and release me from her grasp, I should refuse to shun 
what lies before me. I have cast life behind me, 
comrades, and am wholly driven on by the excitement 
of coming death ; it is a veritable possession. None 
but those whom the approach of death already over- 
shadows are suffered to know that death is a bless- 
ing ; from those who have life before them the gods 
conceal this, in order that they may go on living." 
By his words the hearts of all the warriors were 
changed, and swelled with martial ardour. Before 
their leader spoke they all watched the stars in 
heaven with weeping eyes, and trembled when the 
pole of the Wain went round ; but now, when his 
exhortation had sunk into their stout hearts, they 
prayed for daylight. Nor at that season^ did the 
sky take long to sink the stars in the sea ; for the 
sun was in the constellation of Gemini, when his 
disk reaches its zenith and Cancer is close at hand ; 
short was the night that then brooded over the 
Thessalian Archer. 

Dawn came and revealed the Histrians posted on 
the cliffs and the fierce Liburnians on the sea with the 
Greek fleet. They suspended the fight and tried 
first to conquer by agreement, hoping that the mere 
postponement of death might make life sweeter to 
the prisoners in the trap. But the devoted men 
stood firm : contempt of life made them bold, and 



Promisso sibi fine manu, imllique tumultus 635 

Excussere viris mentes ad summa paratas ; 

Innumerasque simul pauci terraque marique 

Sustinuere manus ; tanta est fiducia mortis. 

Utque satis bello visum est fluxisse cruoris, 

Versus ab hoste furor. Primus dux ipse carinae 640 

Vulteius iugulo poscens iam fata reteeto 

"Ecquis" ait "iuvenum est, cuius sit dextra cruore 

Digna meo certaque fide per volnera nostra 

Testetur se velle mori ? " Nee plura locuto 

Viscera non unus iamdudum transigit ensis. 645 

Conlaudat cunctos, sed eum, cui volnera prima 

Debebat, grato moriens interficit ictu. 

Concurrunt alii totumque in partibus unis 

Bellorum fecere nefas. Sic semine Cadmi 

Emicuit Dircaea cobors ceciditque suorum 650 

Volneribus, dirum Thebanis fratribus omen ; 

Phasidos et campis insomni dente creati 

Terrigenae missa magicis e cantibus ira 

Cognato tantos inplerunt sanguine sulcos, 

Ipsaque, inexpertis quod primum fecerat lierbis, 655 

Expavit Medea nefas. Sic mutua pacti 

Fata cadunt iuvenes, minimumque in morte virorum 

Mors virtutis habet. Pariter sternuntque caduntque 

Volnere letali ; nee quemquam dextra fefellit. 

Cum feriat moriente manu. Nee volnus adactis 660 

Debetur gladiis : percussum est pectore ferrum. 

* See note to i. 552. 

* It needed more courage to kill their comrades than to face 
death themselves. 



they were indifferent to the issue of the fight, 
because they had engapjed to kill themselves ; no 
uproar of assault could dislodge the resolution that 
was prepared for the worst ; and their small company 
withstood the countless hands that attacked them 
by land and sea at once ; so great is the confidence 
inspired by death. Then, when they deemed that 
blood enough had been shed in battle, they turned 
their fury away from the foe. First Vulteius him- 
self, the captain of the craft, bared his throat and 
called for death. "Is any soldier here," he cried, 
"whose right arm is worthy of my blood, who will 
prove his wish to die beyond all doubt by slaying 
me ? " Before he could speak another word, his body 
was pierced instantly by more swords than one. He 
thanked them all, but dying slew with grateful stroke 
him to whom he owed his first wound. Others met 
in combat ; and there the horrors of civil war were 
enacted in full by one faction alone. Thus from the 
seed sown by Cadmus the Theban warriors started 
up and were slain by the swords of their kinsmen — 
a dismal omen for the Theban brothers ; ^ and thus 
in the land of the Phasis the sons of Earth, who 
sprang from the teeth of the sleepless dragon, filled 
the vast furrows with kindred blood, when magic 
spells had filled them with fury ; and Medea herself 
was appalled by the first crime which her herbs, 
untried before, had wrought. So the soldiers fell, 
sworn to slay each other ; and in the death of those 
heroes death itself called for least courage ;^ at the 
same instant they dealt a fatal wound and received 
it ; and no man's right hand failed him, though he 
struck with dying arm. Nor were their wounds due 
to the pressure of the sword ; but their breasts 



Et iuguli pressere manum. Cum sorte cruenta 

Fratribus incurrunt fratres natusque parenti, 

Haud trepidante tamen toto cum pondere dextra 

Exegere enses. Pietas ferientibus una 665 

Non repetisse fuit. lam latis viscera lapsa 

Semianimes traxere foris multumque cruorem 

Infudere mari. Despectam cernere lucem 

V^ictoresque suos voltu spectare superbo 

Et mortem sentire iuvat. lam strage cruenta 670 

Conspicitur cumulata ratis^ bustisque remittunt 

Corpora victores, ducibus mirantibus, ulli 

Esse ducem tanti. Nullam maiore locuta est 

Ore ratem totum discurrens Faraa per orbem. 

Non tamen ignavae post haec exempla virorum 575 

Percipient gentes, quam sit non ardua virtus 

Servitium fugisse manu, sed regna timentur 

Ob ferrum, et saevis liber tas uritur armis, 

Ignorantque datos, ne quisquam serviat, enses. 

Mors, utinam pavidos vitae subducere nolles, 580 

Sed virtus te sola daret ! 

Non segnior illo 
Marte fuit, qui tum Libycis exarsit in arvis. 
Namque rates audax Lilybaeo litore solvit 
Curio, nee forti velis Aquilone recepto 
Inter semi ru tas magnae Carthaginis areas 685 

Et Clipeam tenuit stationis litora notae, 
Primaque castra locat cano procul aequore, qua se 
Bagrada lentus agit siccae sulcator harenae. 



dashed against the steel, and their throats struck 
the hand of the striker. At a time when murderous 
destiny made brother rush on brother and son on 
his fatlier, yet tlieir right hands never hesitated but 
drove the sword home with all its weight. The only 
proof of affection the slayer could give was to strike 
no second blow. By now half dead, they dragged 
their protruding entrails over the wide gangways and 
poured streams of blood into the sea. They rejoice 
to see the light they have rejected, to watch their 
conquerors with disdainful eyes, and to feel the 
approach of death. And now when the raft was 
seen piled high with carnage, the victors yield up 
the dead to the funeral pyre, while their leaders 
marvel that any man should prize his leader so 
highly. Fame, that flies abroad over the whole 
earth, never spoke with louder voice of any vessel. 
Yet even after the example set by these heroes, 
cowardly nations will not understand how simple ^ 
feat it is to escape slavery by suicide ; and the 
tyrant is dreaded for his sword, and freedom is 
weighed down by cruel weapons, and men are 
ignorant that the purpose of the sword is to save 
every man from slavery. O that death were the 
reward of the brave only, and would refuse to release 
the coward from life ! 

No less fiercely the fire of war blazed up then in 
the land of Libya. For bold Curio weighed anchor 
on the shore of Sicily, and a gentle North wind 
filled the sails, till he gained the shore of famous 
anchorage between Clipea and the half-ruined 
citadels of great Carthage. His first camp he pitched 
at some distance from the hoary sea, where the 
Bagrada slowly pushes on and furrows the thirsty 



hide petit tumulos exesasque undique rupes, 
Antaei quas regna vocat non vana vetustas. 690 

Nominis antiqui cupientem noscere causas 
Cognita per multos docuit rudis incola patres : 
" Nondum post genitos Tellus effeta gigantas 
Terribilem Libycis partum concepit in antris. 
Nee tam iusta fuit terrarum gloria Typlion 695 

Aut Tityos Briareusque ferox ; caeloque pepercit, 
Quod non Phlegraeis Antaeum sustulit arvis. 
Hoc quoque tam vastas cumulavit munere vires 
Terra sui fetus, quod, cum tetigere parentem, 
lam defecta vigent renovato robore membra. 600 

Haec illi spelunca domus ; latuisse sub alta 
Rape ferunt, epulas raptos habuisse leones ; 
Ad somnos non terga ferae praebere cubile 
Adsuerunt, non silva torum, viresque resumit 
In nuda tellure iacens. Periere coloni 605 

Arvorum Libyae, pereunt quos^appulit aequor; 
Anxilioque diu virtus non usa cadendi 
Terrae spernit oj)es : invictus robore cunctis, 
Quamvis staret, erat. Tandem volgata cruenti 
Fama mali terras monstris aequorque levantem 610 

Maguanimum Alciden Libycas excivit in oras. 
Ille Cleonaei proiecit terga leonis, 
Antaeus Libyci ; perfundit membra liquore 
Hospes Olympiacae servato more palaestrae, 

1 Where the other giants fought against the gods. 
« This was the invariable garment of Hercules, and he threw 
it down before wrestling, 



sand. From there he marched to the rocky eminence, 
hollowed out on all sides, which tradition with good 
reason calls the realm of Antaeus. When he sought 
to learn the origin of that ancient name, he was told 
by an unlettered countryman a tale handed down 
through many generations : 

" Even after the birth of the Giants Earth was not 
past bearing, and she conceived a fearsome offspring 
in the caves of Libya. She had more cause to boast 
of him than of Typhon or Tityos and fierce Briareus ; 
and she dealt mercifully with the gods when she did 
not raise up Antaeus on the field of Phlegra.^ 
Further she crowned the vast strength of her child 
with this gift, that his limbs, whenever they touched 
their mother, recovered from weariness and renewed 
their strength. Yonder cave was his dwelling ; men 
say that he hid beneath the towering cliff and feasted 
on the lions he had carried off; when he slept, no 
skins of wild beasts made him a bed, nor did the trees 
supply him with bedding ; but his custom was to lie 
on the bare earth and so recover strength. He slew 
the tillers of the Libyan fields ; he slew the strangers 
whom the sea brought to the shore ; and for long, in 
his might, he spurned his mother's aid and never 
availed himself of the help that falling gave ; so 
strong was he that even wlien he stood upright none 
could overcome him. The hero Alcides was then 
ridding land and sea of monsters, when the widespread 
report of this bloodstained ogre summoned him to 
the borders of Libya. Down on the ground he threw 
the skin of the Nemean lion ^ ; the skin that Antaeus 
threw down came from a lion of Libya. The stranger, 
faithful to the fashion of wrestlers at Olynipia, 
drenched his limbs with oil ; the other, not trusting 



Ille parum fidens pedibus contingere matrem 615 

Auxilium membris calidas infudit harenas. 

Conseruere manus et multo bracchia nexu ; 

Colla diu gravibus frustra temptata lacertis, 

Inmotumque caput fixa cum fronte tenetur ; 

Miranturque habuisse parem. Nee viribus uti 620 

Alcides primo voluit certamine totis, 

Exhausitque virum, quod creber anhelitus illi 

Prodidit et gelidus fesso de corpore sudor. 

Turn cervix lassata quati, turn pectore pectus 

Urgueri, tunc obliqua percussa labare 625 

Crura rhanu. lani terga viri cedentia victor 

Alligat et medium conpressis ilibus artat 

Inguinaque insertis pedibus distendit et omnem 

Explicuit per membra virum. Rapit arida tellus 

Sudorem: calido conplentur sanguine venae, 630 

Intumuere tori, totosque induruit artus 

Herculeosque novo laxavit corjiore nodos. 

Constitit Alcides stupefactus robore tanto, 

Nee sic Inachiis, quamvis rudis esset, in undis 

Desectam timuit reparatis anguibus hydram. 635 

Gonflixere pares, Telluris viribus ille, 

Ille suis. Numquam saevae sperare novercae 

Plus licuit ; videt exhaustos sudoribus artus 

Cervicemque viri, siccam cum ferret Olympum. 

tJtque iterum fessis iniecit bracchia membris, 640 

Non expectatis Antaeus viribus hostis 

Sppnte cadit maiorque accepto robore surgit. 

* Hera, the wife of Zeus. 

' ' BOOK IV 

to contact with his mother Earth by means of his 
feet alone, poured hot sand over his hmbs to help 
him. They locked hands and arms in manifold 
embrace; for long they tried the strength of each 
other's necks with the pressure of arms, without 
result ; each head remained unmoved with steadfast 
forehead; each marvelled to find that his match 
existed on earth. Unwilling to put forth all his 
strength at the beginning of the contest, Alcides 
wore down his opponent ; and this was made clear to 
him by the quick panting and the cold sweat that 
poured from the weary frame. Soon his neck flagged 
and gave way, soon breast was borne down by breast, 
soon the legs tottered, struck by a sidelong blow of 
the fist. Then the victor pins his foe's yielding back, 
hugs his loins and squeezes his middle, thrusts his 
own feet to part the thighs, and lays his man at full 
length upon the ground, from top to toe. But, when 
the dry earth eagerly drank his sweat, his veins were 
replenished with warm blood, his muscles swelled out, 
his whole frame grew tough, and he loosened the 
grip of Hercules with fresh strength. Alcides stood 
astonished by such great might : even by the waters 
of Inachus, though he was inexperienced then, he felt 
less fear of the chopped Hydra when her snakes grew 
again. The combatants were well matched, one 
fighting with the strength of Earth, the other with 
his own. Never was the cruel stepmother^ of 
Hercules more sanguine of success : she sees his body 
and his neck worn out with toil — that neck that 
never sweated when it supported Olympus. He 
grappled a second time with his weary foe ; but 
Antaeus, without waiting for the pressure of his 
antagonist, fell down voluntarily and rose up more 



Quisquis inest terris in fessos spiritus artus 

Egeritur, Tellusque viro luctante laborat. 

Ut tandem auxilium tactae prodesse parentis 646 

Alcides sensit, ' Standum est tibi/ dixit ' et ultra 

Non credere solo, sternique vetabere terra. 

Haerebis pressis intra niea pectora membris : 

Hue, Antaee, cades.' Sic fatus sustulit alte 

Nitentem in terras iuvenem. Morientis in artus 650 

Non potuit nati Tellus permittere vires : 

Alcides medio tenuit iam pectora pigro 

Stricta gelu terrisque diu non credidit hostem. 

Hinc, aevi veteris custos, famosa vetustas 

Miratrixque sui signavit nomine terras. 655 

Sed maiora dedit cognomina collibus istis 

Poenum qui Latiis revocavit ab arcibus hostem 

Scipio ; nam sedes Libyca tellure potito 

Haec fuit. En, veteris cernis vestigia valli. 

Romana hos primum tenuit victoria campos.** 660 

Curio laetatus, tamquam fortuna locorum 
Bella gerat servetque ducum sibi fata priorum, 
Felici non fausta loco tentoria ponens 
Indulsit castris et collibus abstulit omen, 
Sollicitatque feros non acquis viribus hostes. 665 

Omnis Romanis quae cesserat Africa signis, 
Tum Vari sub iure fuit ; qui robore quamquam 
Confisus Latio regis tamen undique vires 

* Hannibal. 


mighty with an accession of strength. All the vital 
power that resides in the earth poured into his 
wearied limbs ; and Earth suffers in the wrestling- 
match of her son. When at last Alcides perceived 
that his foe got help by contact with his mother, 
* You must stand upright ' said he ; 'no more will I 
trust you to the ground or suffer you to lie down upon 
the earth ; here you shall remain, with your body 
clasped in my embrace ; if you fall, Antaeus, you 
shall fall on me.' Thus Alcides spoke and lifted 
on high the giant who struggled to gain the ground, 
Earth was unable to convey strength into the frame 
of her dying son ; for Alcides, standing between, 
gripped the breast that was already stiff with cold 
obstruction, and refused for long to trust his foe to 
the earth. Hence the land has got its name from 
long tradition which treasures the past and thinks 
highly of itself. But a greater name was given to 
these heights by Scipio, when he brought the 
Carthaginian invader^ back from the citadels of 
Latium. Here he encamped when he reached the 
soil of Libya; yonder you see the remains of his 
ancient rampart ; these are the fields which the 
Roman conqueror first occupied." 

Curio heard this with joy, believing that the lucky 
spot would fight for him, and repeat for him the 
success of former leaders. Pitching his ill-starred 
tents on that lucky ground, he trusted too much 
to his encampment and robbed the heights of their 
good fortune. He challenged a fierce enemy who 
was too strong for him. 

All of Africa that had yielded to the Roman arms 
was then commanded by Varus ; and he, though 
he relied on Roman soldiers, nevertheless summoned 



Excivity Libycas gentes, extremaque mundi 

Signa suum comitata lubam. Non fusior ulli 670 

Terra fuit domino : qua sunt longissima, regna 

Cardine ab occiduo vicinus Gadibus Atlas 

Terminat, a medio confinis Syrtibus Hammon ; 

At, qua lata iacet, vasti plaga fervida regni 

Distinet Oceanum zonaeque exusta calentis. 676 

Sufficiurit spatio populi : tot castra secuntur, 

Autololes Numidaeque vagi semperque paratus 

Jiiculto Gaetulus equo, turn concolor Indo 

Maurus, inops Nasamon, mixti Garamante perusto 

Marraaridae volucres, aequaturusque sagittas 680 

Medorum, tremulum cum torsit missile^ Mazax, 

Et gens quae nudo residens Massylia dorso 

Ora levi flectit frenorum nescia virga, 

lit solitus vacuis errare mapalibus Afer 

Venator, ferrique simul fiducia non est, 686 

Vestibus iratos laxis operire leones. 

Nee solum studiis civilibus arma parabat 

Privatae sed bella dabat luba concitus irae. 

Hunc quoque, quo superos humanaque poUuit anno, 

Lege tribunicia solio depellere avorum 690 

Curio temptarat, Libyamque auferre tyranno 

Dum regnum te, Roma, facit. Memor ille doloris 

Hoc bellum sceptri fructum putat esse retenti. 

Hae igitur regis trepidat iam Curio fama. 

By the "Ocean" is meant the sea to the north of t 


■^ 50 JB.o., in which year Curio was tribune. 


from every quarter the forces of King Juba — the 
nations of Libya and the troops from the world's end 
that followed their king to battle. No ruler pos- 
sessed a broader realm tlian he : at its greatest 
length his kingdom is bounded on its western point 
by Atlas, neighbour of Gades, and on the East by 
Ammon, bordering on the Syrtes ; and on the line 
of its breadth, the hot region of his huge domain 
separates the Ocean ^ from the burnt-up torrid zone. 
The population matches the area : the king's camp 
is followed by so many tribes — Autololes, unsettled 
Numidians, and Gaetulians good at need with their 
bare-backed horses ; then there are Moors black 
as Indians, needy Nasamonians, swift Marmaridae 
joined with sun-blackened Garamantes, Mazaces 
who can rival the archery of the Parthians when 
they hurl their quivering javelins, and the Massylian 
people, who ride barebacked and use a light switch 
to guide their horses whose mouths have never felt 
the bit; there follows too the African hunter, whose 
habit it is to stray through deserted villages and 
to smother angry lions in the folds of his garment, 
when he has lost confidence in his spear. Not 
party zeal alone stirred up Juba to arms : war was 
a concession to personal anger as well. For Curio, 
in that year^ during which he outraged heaven and 
earth, had also tried to dislodge Juba from his 
ancestral throne by means of a tribune's law — he 
sought, at the same tune, to take Africa from its 
rightful king and to set up a king at Rome ! Juba, 
nursing his grievance, considered this war the chief 
advantage he had gained by retaining his crown. 
Hence this rumour of the king now alarmed Curio. 
He was alarmed also because his soldiers had never 



Et quod Caesareis numquam devota iuventus 695 

Ilia nimis castris nee Rlieni miles in undis 

Exploratus erat, Corfini captus in arce, 

Infidusque novis ducibus dubiusque priori 

Fas utrumque putat. Sed postquam languida segni 

Cernit cuncta metu nocturnaque munera valli 700 

Desolata fuga, trepida sic mente profatur : 

" Audendo magnus tegitur tinior ; arma capessam 
Ipse prior. Campum miles descendat in aequum, 
Dum mens est ; variam semper dant otia mentem. 
Eripe consilium pugna : cum dira voluptas 705 

Ense subit presso^ galeae texere pudorem, 
Quis conferre duces meminit? quis pendere causas? 
Qua stetit, inde favet; veluti fatalis harenae 
Muneribus non ira vetus concurrere cogit 
Productos, odere pares." Sic fatus apertis 71ft 

Instruxit campis acies ; quem blanda futuris 
Deceptura malis belli fortuna recepit. 
Nam pepulit Varum campo nudataque foeda 
Terga fuga, donee vetuerunt castra, cecidit. 

Tristia sed postquam superati proelia Vari 715 

Sunt audita lubae, laetus, quod gloria belli 
Sit rebus servata suis^ lapit agmina furtim, 
Obscuratque suam per iussa silentia famam 
Hoc solum incauto metuentis^ ab hoste, timeri. 

^ incauto metuentis Hmismnn : metuens incauto M88. 

1 Comp. ii. 478 ff. 


been overmuch devoted to Caesar's cause : never 
tested on the waters of the Rhine, they had been 
taken prisoners in the citadel of Corfinium^ ; faithless 
to their leader before and distrusted by Curio now, 
they think it lawful to take either side. But when 

^,., Curio saw the slackness of sluggish fear on every 
^^ hand, and the nightly service on the ramparts left 
undone by desertion, he spoke thus in the trouble 
, of his soul : 

" Boldness is a mask for fear, however great ; I 
will take the field before the foe. Let my soldiers, 

or.', while they are still mine, march down to the level 
ground. Idleness is ever the root of indecision ; 
snatch from them by battle the power to form a 
plan ; once the dreadful passion rises, once the 
sword is grasped and the helmet hides the blush 
of shame, who thinks then of comparing leaders or 
balancing causes .'* Each man backs the side on 
which he stands. So those who are brought 
forth at the shows of the deathly arena are not 
driven to fight by long-cherished anger : they hate 
whoever is pitted against tliem." Thus he spoke 
and drew up his line upon the open plain ; and the 
fortune of war, meaning to betray him by future 
disasters, welcomed him now with smiles; for he 
drove Varus from the field and cut up his defenceless 
rear in shameful flight until the camp put a stop to 
the pursuit. 

But when Juba heard of the lost battle of con- 
quered Varus, he rejoiced that the glory of the 
campaign was reserved for his arms. He marched 
in haste and secrecy, masking the report of his 
movement by enforcing silence ; his one fear was 
that his rash foe might feel fear of him. Sabbura, 



Mittitur, exigua qui proelia prima lacessat 72( 

Eliciatque manu, Numidis a rege secundiis, 

Ut sibi commissi simulator Sabbura belli ; 

Ipse cava regni vires in valle retentat : 

Aspidas ut Pliarias cauda sollertior hostis 

Ludit et iratas incerta provocat umbra 72; 

Obliquusque caput vanas serpentis in auras 

Effusae tuto conprendit guttura morsu 

Letiferam citra saniem ; tunc inrita pestis 

Exprimitur, faucesque fluunt pereunte veneno. 

Fraudibus eventum dederat fortuna, feroxque 73( 

Non exploratis occulti viribus hostis 

Curio nocturnum castris erumpere cogit 

Ignotisque equitem late decurrere campis. 

Ipse sub aurorae primos excedere motus 

Signa iubet castris, multum frustraque rogatus, Idl 

Ut Libycas metuat fraudes infectaque semper j 

Punica bella dolis. Leti fortuna propinqui 

Tradiderat fatis iuvenem, bellumque trahebat 

Auctorem civile suum. Super ardua ducit 

Saxa, super cautes abrupt© limite signa, 74( 

Cum procul e summis conspecti collibus hostes 

Fraude sua cessere parum, dum colle relicto 

Effusara patulis aciem committeret arvis. 

Ille fugam credens simulatae nescius artis, 

Ut victor, mersos aciem deiecit in agros. 741 

Ut primum patuere doli, Numidaeque fugaces 

Undique conpletis clauserunt montibus agmen, 

.l«sA ^o ' The ichneumon. 


second to tlie king in command of the Numidians, 
was sent out with a small force to challenge the 
foe and tempt them to begin battle ; he was to 
sham an attack and pretend that he was in charge 
of it, while the king kept back his main body in a 
hollow valley. So snakes in Egypt are fooled by 
the craftier foe^ with his tail: he stirs up their 
wrath with its flickering shadow, while the snake 

^^ spends its force upon the air in vain, and then, 
holding his head aslant, he grips the throat and bites 
in safety, too close for the deadly fluid to touch 
him ; at last the baffled bane is squeezed forth, and 
the poison streams idly from the throat. Fortune 
gave success to the trick ; and daring Curio, without 

■ reconnoitring the strength of his hidden foe, made 
his cavalry sally forth from the camp by night and 
range far and wide over the unknown plains. He 
himself at the first stirring of dawn bids his infantry 
leave their camp ; in vain was he warned repeatedly 
to beware of Libyan deceit and Punic warfare ever 

If) tainted by guile. The doom of speedy death had 
handed the youth over to destruction, and civil 
war was claiming the man who made it. Along a 
perilous path he led his men, over high rocks and 
cliffs, and then the enemy was sighted far away 
from the top of the hills. They, with their native 

,; craft, drew back a little, till he should leave the 
height and trust his army in loose array to the 
open fields. Curio, ignorant of their treacherous 
device, believed that they were fleeing, and, as if 
victorious, marched his army down to the fields 
below. As soon as the trick was revealed, and the 

;;, light Numidian cavalry covered the heights and 
surrounded the Romans on every side, the leader 



Obstipuit dux ipse simul perituraque turba. 

Non timidi petiere fugam, non proelia fortes. 

Quippe ubi non sonipes motus clangore tubarum 750 

Saxa quatit pulsu rigidos vexantia frenos 

Ora terens spargitque iubas et subrigit aures 

Incertoque pedum pugnat non stare tumultu; 

Fessa facet cervix, fumant sudoribus artus, 

Oraque proiecta squalent arentia lingua, 766! 

Pectora rauca gemunt, quae creber anhelitus urguet, 

Et defecta gravis longe traliit ilia pulsus, 

Siccaque sanguineis durescit spuma lupatis. 

lamque gradum, neque verberibus stimulisque coacti 

Nee quamvis crebris iussi calcaribus, addunt : 700 

V'olneribus coguntur equi ; nee profuit ulli 

Cornipedis rupisse moras, neque enim inpetus ille 

Incursusque fuit : tan turn perfertur ad hostes 

Et spatium iaculis oblato volnere donat. 

At, vagus Afer equos ut primum emisit in agmen, 765 

Turn campi tremuere sono, terraque soluta, 

Quantus Bistonio torquetur turbine, pulvis 

Aera nube sua texit traxitque tenebras. 

Ut vero in pedites fatum miserabile belli 

Incubuit, nullo dubii discrimine Martis 770 

Ancipites steterunt casus, sed tempora pugnae 

Mors tenuit; neque enim licuit procurrere contra 

Et miscere manus. Sic undique saepta iuventus 

Comminus obliquis et rectis eminus hastis 

Obruitur, non volneribus nee sanguine solum, 775 



himself and his doomed army were stupefied alike : 
the coward did not flee, nor the brave man fight. 
For there the war-horse was not roused by the 
trumpet's blare, nor did he scatter the stones with 
stamping hoof, or champ the hard bit that chafes 
his mouth, with flying mane and ears erect, or refuse 
to stand still, and shift his clattering feet. The 
weary neck sinks down, the limbs reek with sweat, 
the tongue protrudes and the mouth is rough and 
dry ; the lungs, driven by quick pants, give a hoarse 
murmur ; the labouring breath works the spent 
flanks hard ; and the froth dries and cakes on the 
blood-stained bit. Now the horses refuse to go 
faster, though urged by blows and goads and called 
on by constant spurring : they are stabbed to make 
them move ; yet no man profited by overcoming the 
resistance of his horse ; for no charge and onset was 
possible there : the rider was merely carried close 
to the foe and, by offering a mark, saved the javelin 
a long flight. But as soon as the African skirmishers 
launched their steeds at the host, the plains shook 
with their trampling, the earth was loosened, and 
a pillar of dust, vast as is whirled by Thracian 
stormwinds, veiled the sky with its cloud and 
brought on darkness. And when the piteous doom 
of battle bore down u{)on the Roman infantry, the 
issue never hung uncertain through any chance of 
war's lottery, but all the time of fighting was filled 
by death : it was impossible to rush forward in 
attack and close with the enemy. So the soldiers, 
surrounded on all sides, were crushed by slanting 
thrusts from close quarters and spears hurled straight 
forward from a distance — doomed to destruction not 
merely by wounds and blood but by the hail of 



Telorura nimbo peritura et pondere ferri. 
Ergo acies tantae parvum spissantur in orbem, 
Ac, si quis metuens medium correpsit in aguicn, 
Vix inpune suos inter convertitur enses ; 
Densaturque globus, quantum pede prima relato 
Cpnstrinxit gyros acies. Non arma movendi 
lam locus est pressis, stipataque membra teruntur ; 
Frangitur armatum conliso pectore pectus. 
Non tam laeta tulit victor spectacula Maurus 
Quam fortuna dabat ; fluvios non ille eruoris 
Membrorumque videt lapsum et ferientia terram 
Corpora : conpressum turba stetit omne cadaver. 

Excitet invisas dirae Carthaginis umbras 
Inferiis Fortuna no vis, ferat ista cruentus 
Hannibal et Poeni tam dira piacula manes. 
Romanam, superi, Libyca tellure ruinam 
Pompeio prodesse nefas votisque senatus ! 
Africa nos potius vincat sibi. Curio, fusas 
Ut vidit campis acies et cernere tantas 
Permisit clades conpressus sanguine pulvis, 
Non tulit adflictis animam producere rebus 
Aut sperare fugam, ceciditque in strage suorum 
Inpiger ad letum et fortis virtute coacta. 

Quid nunc rostra tibi prosunt turba ta forumque, 
Unde tribunicia plebeius signifer arce 
Arma dubas populis ? quid prodita iura senatus 


weapons and the sheer weight of steel. Thus a 
great army was crowded into a small compass ; 
and, if any man in fear crawled into the midst of 
the press, he could scarce move about unhurt 
amonor the swords of his comrades ; and the pack 
grew thicker, whenever the foremost rank stepped 
back and narrowed the circle. The crowded soldiers 
have no longer space to ply their weapons; their 
bodies are squeezed and ground together ; and the 
armoured breast is broken by pressure against 
another breast. The victorious Moors did not enjoy 
to the full the spectacle that Fortune granted them : 
they could not see the rivers of blood, the collapsing 
limbs, and the bodies striking the ground ; for 
each dead man was held bolt upright by the dense 

Let Fortune call to life the hated ghost of dread 
Carthage to enjoy this new sacrifice ; let blood- 
stained Hannibal and his Carthaginian dead accept 
this awful expiation ! But it is an outrage, ye gods, 
that the fall of Romans on Libyan soil should for- 
ward the success of Pompey and the desires of the 
Senate. Rather let Africa defeat us for her own 
objects. When Curio saw his ranks prostrate on 
the field, and when the dust was laid by blood, so 
that he could survey that awful carnage, he would 
not stoop to survive defeat or hope for escape, but 
fell amid the corpses of his men, prompt to face 
death and brave with the courage of despair. 

What does it avail him now that he stirred up 
turmoil on the Rostrum in the Forum — that strong- 
hold of the tribunes, where he bore the standard 
of the populace and from which he armed all 
nations ? What avails it that he betrayed the rights 



Et gener atque socer hello concurrere iussi ? 
Ante iaces quam dira duces Pharsalia confert, 
Spectandumque tibi bellum civile negatum est. 
Has urbi miserae vestro de sanguine poenas 
Ferre datis, luitis iugulo sic arma, potentes. 
Felix Roma quidem civesque habitura beatos, 
Si libertatis superis tarn cura placeret 
Quam vindicta placet. Libycas en, nobile corpus, 
Pascit aves nullo contectus Curio busto. 
At tibi nos, quando non proderit ista silere 
A quibus omne aevi senium sua fama repellit, 
Digna damus, iuvenis, meritae praeconia vitae. 
Haud alium tanta civem tulit indole Roma, 
Aut cui plus leges deberent recta sequenti. 
Perdita tunc urbi nocuerunt saecula, postquam 
Ambitus et luxus et opum metuenda facultas 
Transverso mentem dubiam torrente tulerunt ; 
Momentumque fuit mutatus Curio rerum 
Gallorum captus spoliis et Caesaris auro. 
lus licet in iugulos nostros sibi fecerit ensis 
Sulla potens Mariusque ferox et Cinna cruentus 
Caesareaeque domus series, cui tanta potestas 
Concessa est ? emere omnes, hie vendidit urbem. 



of the Senate and bade Pompey and his wife's father 
meet in the clasii of arms? Low he lies, before 
the fatal field of Pharsalia confronts the leaders ; 
and the spectacle of civil war is withheld from him. 
This is the penalty which the great ones of the 
earth suffer their unhappy country to exact ; thus 
they pay for the wars they make with their own 
blood and their own deaths. Fortunate indeed 
would Rome be, and happy her citizens hereafter, 
if the gods were as careful to preserve her freedom 
as they are to avenge it.^ Behold ! the unburied 
body of Curio, a noble carrion, feeds the birds of 
Libya. But to suppress those deeds which are 
insured by their own glory against all decay of time 
will not avail ; and therefore we award a due meed 
of praise to the praiseworthy part of his life. Rome 
never bore a citizen of such high promise, nor one 
to whom the constitution owed more while he trod 
the right path. But then the corruption of the age 
proved fatal to the State, when ambition and luxury 
and the formidable^ power of wealth swept away 
with their cross-current the unstable principles of 
Curio ; and, when he yielded to the booty of Gaul 
and Caesar's gold, his change turned the scale of 
history. Though powerful Sulla and bold Marius, 
like bloodstained Cinna and all the line of Caesar's 
house, secured the power to use the sword against 
our throats, yet to none of them was granted so 
high a privilege ; for they all bought their country, 
but Curio sold it. 

* I.e. "to punish those who rob Rome of freedom." 

* /.«. to its possessor. 






Sic altema duces bellorum volnera passos 
In Macetum terras miscens adversa secundis 
Servavit fortuna pares. lam sparserat Haemo 
Bruma nives geJidoque cadens Atlantis Olynipo, 
Instabatque dies, qui dat nova nomina fastis 
Quique colit primus ducentem tempora lanum. 
Dum tamen emeriti remanet pars ultima iuris. 
Consul uterque vagos belli per munia patres 
Elicit Epirum. Peregrina ac sordida sedes 
Romanos cepit proceres, secretaque rerum 
Hospes in externis audivit curia tectis. 
Nam quis castra vocet tot strictas iure secures. 
Tot fasces? docuit populos venerabilis ordo, 
Non Magni partes sed Magnum in partibus esse. 

Ut primum maestum tenuere silentia coetum^ 16 

Lentulus e celsa sublimis sede profatur : 
•' Indole si dignum Latia, si sanguine prisco 
Robur inest animis, non qua tellure coacti 
Quamquc procul tectis captae sedeamus ab urbis, 
Cernite, sed vestrae faciem cognoscite turbae, 

1 Pharsalia in Thessaly is meant by this plirase. 

2 Tlie Pleiades were the daughters of Atlas. 

* January 1st, 48 B.C. 

* Maroellus and Lentulus. 



Thus the leaders in turn suffered the wounds of 
war, and Fortune, blending failure with success, 
kept them for the land of the Macedonians ^ equal 
in strength. Winter had already sprinkled Mount 
Haemus with snow, and the daughter of Atlas ^ was 
setting in a chilly sky. The day ^ was coming that 
gives new names to the Calendar and begins the 
worship of Janus, leader of the months. But, before 
the last days of their expiring office ran out, the two 
consuls * summoned to Epirus those senators who 
were scattered here and there on military duties. 
Mean and foreign was the chamber that held the 
magnates of Rome ; and the Senate sat, as guests 
beneath an alien roof, to hear the business of the 
State. For who could apply the name of " camp " 
to all those rods and all those axes bared by right 
of law ? The worshipful body taught the world 
that they were not the party of Magnus but that 
Magnus was only one of their partisans. 

As soon as silence prevailed in the sorrowing 
assembly, Lentulus rose up from his high seat of 
dignity and thus addressed them. " Senators, if 
you have the stout hearts that befit your Latian 
stock and ancient blood, consider not the land in 
which we meet, or the distance which divides us 
from the dwellings of captured Rome ; recognise 
rather the aspect of this body, and, having power 



Cunctaque iussuri primum hoc decernite, patres, 

Quod regnis populisque liquet, nos esse senatum. 

Nam vel Hyperboreae plaustrum glaciale sub Ursae 

Vel plaga qua torrens claususque vaporibus axis 

Nee patitur noctes nee iniquos crescere soles, 25 

Si fortuna ferat, rerum nos summa sequetur 

Imperiumque comes. Tarpeia sede perusta 

Gallorum facibus Veiosque habitante Camillo 

lllic Roma fuit. Non umquam perdidit ordo 

Mutato sua iura solo. Maerentia tecta 30 

Caesar habet vacuasque domos legesque silentes 

Clausaque iustitio tristi fora ; curia solos 

Ilia videt patres, plena quos urbe fugavit : 

Ordine de tanto quisquis non exulat hie est. 

Ignaros scelerum longaque in pace quietos 36 

Bellorum primus sparsit furor : omnia rursus 

Membra loco redeunt. En, totis viribus orbis 

Hesperiam pensant superi : iacet hostis in undis 

Obrutus Illyricis, Libyae squalentibus arvis 

Curio Caesarei cecidit pars magna senatus. 40 

ToUite signa, duces, fatorum inpellite cursum, 

Spem vestram praestate deis, fortunaque tantos 

Det vobis animos, quantos fugientibus hostem 

Causa dabat. Nostrum exhausto ius clauditur anno ; 

Vos, quorum finem non est sensura potestas, 45 

Consulite in medium, patres, Magnumque iubete 

Esse ducem." Laeto nomen clamore senatus 

1 He implies that the senators who have submitted to Caesar 
are the real exiles. 

2 An allusion to the death of the Opitergians ; see iv. 404 f. 
» The two consuls. 



to pass any measure, decree this first of all — and 
the fact is clear to all kings and nations — that we 
are the Senate. For whether beneath the icy Wain 
of the Northern Bear, or in the torrid zone and the 
clime fenced in by heat, where neither night nor 
day may grow beyond equality, wherever Fortune 
carry us, the State will go with us and empire 
attend us. When the Tarpeian sanctuary was con- 
sumed by the firebrands of the Gauls, Camillus 
dwelt at Veii, and Veii was Rome. Never has this 
order forfeited its rights by changing its place. 
Caesar has in his power the sorrowing buildings, the 
empty houses, the silenced laws, and the law-courts 
closed by a dismal holiday ; but that Senate House 
sees no senators save those whom it expelled ere 
Rome was deserted : every member of this great 
body who is not an exile is present here.^ VVhen 
we knew naught of civil war and had rested long 
in peace, the first fury of warfare drove us apart ; 
but now all the scattered limbs return to the body. 
See how the gods make good the loss of Italy by 
the armed strength of the whole world I Our 
enemies lie deep in Illyrian waters ; ^ and Curio, a 
mighty man in Caesar's Senate, has fallen on the 
barren fields of Libya. Lift up your standards, ye 
leaders of armies ; hasten the course of destiny ; 
convince the gods that you have hope ; and draw 
from success the confidence which your good cause 
gave you when you fled before Caesar. For us ^ the 
time of office expires when the year closes ; but 
your authority, senators, can never be subject to 
any limits ; and therefore take counsel for the 
common good, and vote for Magnus as your leader." 
That name was hailed with applause by the senators; 


VOL. I. I 


Excipit et Magno fatum patriaeque suumque 
Inposuit. Tunc in reges populosque merentes 
Sparsus honor, pelagique potens Phoebeia donis 60 

Exornata Rhodos geiidique inculta inventus 
Taygeti ; fama veteres laudantur Athenae, 
Massiliaeque suae donatur libera Phoeis. 
Turn Sadalam fortemque Cotyn fidumque per arma 
Deiotarum et gelidae dominum Rhascypolin orae 66 
Conlaudant, Libyamque iubent auctore senatu 
Sceptrifero parere lubae. Pro tristia fata ! 
Et tibi, non fidae gentis dignissime regno, 
Fortunae, Ptolomaee, pudor crimenque deorum, 
Cingere Pellaeo pressos diademate crines 60 

Permissum. Saevum in populos puer accipit ensem, 
Atque utinam in populos ! donata est regia Lagi, 
Accessit Magni iugulus, regnumque sorori 
Ereptum est soceroque nefas. lam turba solute 
Anna petit coetu ; quae cum populique ducesque 66 
Casibus incertis et caeca sorte pararent, 
Solus in ancipites metuit descendere Martis 
Appius eventus, finemque expromere rerum 
Sollicitat superos multosque obducta per annos 
Delphica fatidici reserat penetralia Phoebi. 70 

Hesperio tantum quantum summotus Eoo 
Cardine Parnasos gemino petit aethera colle, 
Mons Phoebo Bromioque sacer, cui numine mixto 

* See note to iii. 340. 

" Pella was the ancient capital of Macedonia. The first 
Ptolemy, named Lagus, was a Macedonian ; and Lucan often 
uses the epithet Pellaeus of the Egyptian king and court. 

* Delphi, near Parnassus, claimed to be the centre of the 



and they laid on the shoulders of Magnus the 
burden of their country's fate and of their own. 
Next, rewards for good service were freely bestowed 
on kings and peoples : gifts of honour were con- 
ferred on the rugged soldiery of cold Taygetus, and 
on Rhodes, queen of the seas and island of Apollo ; 
Athens of ancient fame was commended ; and 
Phocis ^ was declared free, in compliment to 
Massilia, her daughter city. Praise was given also 
to Sadalas and brave Cotys, to the faithful ally, 
Deiotarus, and to Rhascypolis, lord of a frozen land ; 
and Libya was bidden to obey King Juba by the 
authority of the Senate. And next — O cruelty of 
Fate — to Ptolemy, right worthy to rule a treacherous 
people, to Ptolemy, that disgrace of Fortune and 
reproach of the gods, it was permitted to place on 
his head the weight of the Macedonian 2 crown. 
The boy received the sword to use it ruthlessly 
against his people. Would that they alone had 
suffered ! But, while the Senate gave the throne 
of Lagus, the life of Magnus was thrown in as well ; 
and so Cleopatra lost her kingdom, and Caesar the 
power to murder his son-in-law. Then the meeting 
dispersed, and all took up arms. But, while the 
nations and their leaders prepared for war, uncertain 
of the future and blind to their destiny, Appius 
alone feared to commit himself to the lottery of 
battle ; therefore he appealed to the gods to reveal 
the issue of events ; and Delphi, the oracular 
shrine of Apollo, closed for many years, was by him 

At equal distance from the limits of East and 
West,^ the twin peaks of Parnassus soar to heaven. 
The mountain is sacred to Phoebus and to Bromios, 



Delphica Thebanae referunt trieterica Bacchae. 
Hoc solum fluctu terras mergente cacumen 75 

Eminuit pontoque fuit discrimen et astris. 
Tu quoque vix summam, seductus ab aequore, rupem 
Extuleras, unoque iugo, Parnase^ latebas. 
Ultor ibi expulsaCj premeret cum viscera partus, 
Matris, adhuc rudibus Paean Pythona sagittis 80 

Explicuit, cum regna Themis tripodasque teneret. 
Ut vidit Paean vastos telluris hiatus 
Divinam spirare fidem ventosque loquaces 
Exhalare solum, sacris se condidit antris, 
Incubuitque adyto vates ibi factus Apollo. 85 

Quis latet hicsuperum? quod numenabaetherepressum 
Dignatur caecas inclusum habitare cavernas? 
Quis terram caeli patitur deus, omnia cursus 
Aeterni secreta tenens mundoque futuri 
Conscius, ac populis sese proferre paratus 90 

Contactumque ferens hominis, magnusque potensque, 
Sive canit fatum seu, quod iubet ille canendo, 
Fit fatum ? Forsan t err is inserta regendis 
Acre libratum vacuo quae sustinet orbem, 
Totius pars magna lovis Cirrhaea per antra 95 

Exit et aetherio trahitur conexa Tonanti. 
Hoc ubi virgineo conceptum est pectore numen, 
Humanam feriens animam sonat oraque vatis 

* This is Stoic doctrine. 

2 Cinha, the port of Delphi, is often used as a synonym for 
the oracle itself. 




in whose honour the Bacchants of Thebes, treating 
the two gods as one, hold their triennial festival at 
Delphi. When the Flood covered the earth, this 
height alone rose above the level and was all that 
separated sea from sky ; and even Parnassus, parted 
in two by the flood, only just displayed a rocky 
summit, and one of its peaks was submerged. There 
Apollo, with yet unpractised shafts, laid low the 
Python and so avenged his mother who had been 
driven fortli when great with child. Themis was then 
queen and mistress of the oracle ; but, when Apollo 
saw that the huge chasm in the earth breathed 
forth divine truth, and that the ground gave out a 
wind that spoke, then he enshrined himself in the 
sacred caves, brooded over the holy place, and there 
became a prophet. 

Which of the immortals is hidden here ? W^hat 
deity, descending from heaven, deigns to dwell pent 
up in these dark grottoes ? What god of heaven 
endures the weight of earth, knowing every secret 
of the eternal process of events, sharing with the 
sky the knowledge of the future, ready to reveal 
himself to the nations, and patient of contact with 
mankind ? A great and mighty god is he, whether 
he merely predicts the future or the future is itself 
determined by the fiat of his utterance. It may be 
that a large part of the whole divine element is 
embedded in the world to rule it,^ and supports the 
globe poised upon empty space ; and this part issues 
forth through the caves of Cirrha,^ and is inhaled 
there, though closely linked to the Thunderer in 
heaven. When this inspiration has found a harbour 
in a maiden's bosom, it strikes the human soul of 
the priestess audibly, and unlocks her lips, even as 



Solvit, ceu Siculus flammis urguentibus Aetnam 
Undat apex, Campana fremens ceu saxa vaporat 100 

Conditus Inarimes aeterna mole Typhoeus. 

Hoc tamen expositum cunctis nuUique negatum 
Numen ab human! solum se labe furoris 
Vindicat. Haud illic tacito mala vota susurro 
Concipiunt, nam fixa canens mutandaque nulli 105 

Mortales optare vetat ; iustisque benignus 
Saepe dedit sedem totas mutantibus urbes, 
Ut Tyriis, dedit ille minas inpellere belli, 
Ut Salaminiacum meminit mare ; sustulit iras 
Telluris sterilis monstrato fine ; resolvit 110 

Aera tabificum. Non uUo saecula dono 
Nostra carent maiore deum, quam Delphica sedes 
Quod siluit, postquam reges timuere futura 
Et superos vetuere loqui. Nee voce negata 
Cirrhaeae maerent vates, templique fruuntur 115 

lustitio. Nam si qua deus sub pectora venit, 
Numinis aut poena est mors inmatura recepti 
Aut pretium ; quippe stimulo fluctuque furoris 
Conpages Humana labat, pulsusque deorum 
Concutiunt fragiles animas. Sic tempore longo 120 

Inmotos tripodas vastaeque silentia rupis 
Appius Hesperii scrutator ad ultima fati 
Sollicitat. lussus sedes laxare verendas 
Antistes pavidamque deis inmittere vatem 
Castalios circum latices nemorumque recessus 125 

1 The Athenians were encouraged to fight Xerxes by the 
Delphian oracle. 
* On which the priestesses sat. 




the crown of Etna in Sicily boils over from the 
pressure of the flames ; and as Typhoeus, where he 
lies beneath the everlasting mass of Inarime, makes 
hot the rocks of Campania by his unrest. 

This sacred shrine, which welcomes all men and 
is denied to none, nevertheless alone is free from 
the taint of human wickedness. There no sinful 
prayers are framed in stealthy whisper ; for the god 
forbids mankind to pray for anything, and only pro- 
claims the doom that none may change. To the 
righteous he shows favour : when whole cities, as 
in the case of Tyre, were abandoned by their inhabi- 
tants, he has often given them a place to dwell in ; 
he has enabled others to dispel the dangers of war, 
as the sea of Salamis ^ has not forgotten ; he has 
removed the anger of the barren earth by revealing 
a remedy ; he has cleared the air from the taint of 
plague. But the Del})hian oracle became dumb, 
when kings feared the future and stopped the 
mouth of the gods; and no divine gift is more 
sorely missed by our age. Yet the priestesses of 
Delphi feel no grief that utterance is denied them : 
nay, they rejoice in the cessation of the oracle. 
For, if the god enters the bosom of any, untimely 
death is her penalty, or her reward, for having 
received him ; because the human frame is broken 
up by the sting and surge of that frenzy, and the 
stroke from heaven shatters the brittle life. — So 
when Appius, probing the last secrets of Roman 
destiny, urged his quest, the tripods ^ had long been 
motionless and the mighty rock silent. When the 
priest was bidden to unbar the awful shrine and 
usher the terrified priestess into the divine presence, 
Phemonoe was wandering free from care about the 



Phemonoen errore vagam curisque vacantem 

Corripuit cogitque fores inrumpere templi. 

Limine terrifico metiiens consistere Phoebas 

Absterrere ducem noscendi ardore futura 

Cassa fraude parat. " Quid spes " ait " inproba veri 130 

Te, RomanCj trahit ? muto Parnasos hiatu 

Conticuit pressitque deum, seu spiritus istas 

Destituit fauces mundique in devia versum 

Duxit iter, seu, barbarica cum larapade Python 

Arsit, in inmensas cineres abiere cavernas 135 

Et Phoebi tenuere viam, seu sponte deorum 

Cirrha silet farique sat est arcana futuri 

Carmina longaevae vobis conmissa Sibyllae, 

Seu Paean solitus templis arcere nocentes, 

Ora quibus sol vat, nostro non invenit aevo," 140 

Virginei patuere doli, fecitque negatis 
Numinibus metus ipse fidem. Turn torta priores 
Stringit vitta comas, crinesque in terga solutos 
Candida Piiocaica conplectitur infula lauro. J 

Haerentem dubiamque premens in templa sacerdos 145 ^ 
Inpulit. Ilia pavens adyti penetrale remoti 
Fatidicum prima templorum in parte resistit 
Atque deum simulans sub pectore ficta quieto 
Verba refert, nullo confusae murmure vocis 
Instinctam sacro mentem testata furore, 150 

Haud aeque laesura ducem, cui falsa canebat, 
Qiiam tripodas Phoebique fidem. Non rupta trementi 

* Another name for Delphi ; the temple was burnt by Gauls i 
in 279 B.C. ' 



spring of Castalia and the sequestered grove ; he 
laid liands upon lier and compelled her to rush 
within the temple doors. Fearing to take her stand 
on that dread threshold, Apollo's priestess sought 
by vain deceit to discourage Appius from his eager- 
ness to learn the future. " Why," she asked, ^' does 
presumptuous hope of learning the truth draw you 
hither, O Roman .'' The chasm of Parnassus, fallen 
dumb and silent, has buried its god. Either the 
breath of inspiration has failed yonder outlet and 
has shifted its path to a distant region of the world ; 
or, when Pytho^ was burned by the brands of 
barbarians, the ashes sank into the vast caverns and 
blocked the passage of Phoebus ; or Delphi is dumb 
by the will of Heaven, and it is thought enough that 
the verses of the ancient Sibyl, entrusted to your 
nation, should tell forth the hidden future ; or else 
Apollo, accustomed to exclude the guilty from his 
shrine, finds none in our age for whose sake to 
unseal his lips." 

The maiden's craft was plain, and even her fears 
proved the reality of the deity she denied. Then 
the circling band confined the tresses above her 
brow ; and the hair that streamed down her back 
was bound by the white fillet and the laurel of 
Phocis. When still she paused and hesitated, the 
priest thrust her by force into the temple. Dread- 
ing the oracular recess of the inner shrine, she 
halted by the entrance, counterfeiting inspiration 
and uttering feigned words from a bosom unstirred ; 
and no inarticulate cry of indistinct utterance proved 
that her mind was inspired with the divine frenzy. 
To Appius, who heard her false prophecy, she could 
do less harm than to the oracle and Apollo's repute 



Verba sono nee vox antri conplere capacis 
Sufficiens spatium nulloque horrore comarum 
Excussae laurus inmotaque limina templi 
Securumque nemus veritam se credere Phoebo 
Prodiderant. Sensit tripodas cessare furensque 
Appius, " Et nobis meritas dabis, inpia^ poenas 
Et superis, quos fingis," ait " nisi mergeris antris 
Deque orbis trepidi tanto consulta tumultu 
Desinis ipsa loqui." Tandem conterrita virgo 
Confugit ad tripodas vastisque adducta cavernis 
Haesit et insueto concepit pectore numen. 
Quod non exhaustae per tot iam saecula rupis 
Spiritus ingessit vati ; tandemque potitus 
Pectore Cirrhaeo non umquam plenior artus 
Phoebados inrupit Paean mentemque priorem 
Expulit atque hominem toto sibi cedere iussit 
Pectore. Bacchatur demens aliena per antrum 
Colla ferens, vittasque del Phoebeaque serta 
Erectis discussa comis per inania templi 
Ancipiti cervice rotat spargitque vaganti 
Obstantes tripodas magnoque exaestuat igne 
Iratum te, Piioebe, ferens. Nee verbere solo 
Uteris et stimulos flammasque in viscera mergis : 
Accipit et frenos, nee tantum prodere vati 
Quantum scire licet. Venit aetas omnis in unam 
Congeriem, miserumque premunt tot saecula pectus, 


for truth. Her words, that rushed not forth with 
tremulous cry ; her voice, which had not power to 
fill the space of the vast cavern ; her laurel wreath, 
which was not raised off her head by the bristling 
hair; the unmoved floor of the temple and the 
motionless trees — all these betrayed her dread of 
trusting herself to Apollo. Appius perceived that 
the oracle was dumb, and cried out in fury : " Pro- 
fane wretch, I myself and the gods whom you 
counterfeit will punish you even as you deserve, 
unless you go down into the cave and cease, when 
consulted concerning the mighty turmoil of a terrified 
world, to speak your own words." Scared at last 
the maiden took refuge by the tripods ; she drew 
near to the vast chasm and there stayed ; and her 
bosom for the first time drew in the divine power, 
which the inspiration of the rock, still active after so 
many centuries, forced upon her. At last Apollo 
mastered the breast of the Del[)hian priestess ; as 
fully as ever in the past, he forced his way into her 
body, driving out her former thoughts, and bidding 
her human nature to come forth and leave her heart 
at his disposal. Frantic she careers about the cave, 
with her neck under possession ; the fillets and gar- 
lands of Apollo, dislodged by her bristling hair, she 
whirls with tossing head through the void spaces 
of the temple ; she scatters the tripods that impede 
her random course ; she boils over with fierce fire, 
while enduring the wrath of Phoebus. Nor does he 
ply the whip and goad alone, and dart flame into 
her vitals : she has to bear the curb as well, and is 
not permitted to reveal as much as she is suffered to 
know. All time is gathered up together : all the 
centuries crowd her breast and torture it ; the end- 



Tanta patet rerum series, atque omne futurum 

Nititur in lucem, vocemque petentia fata 180 

Luctantur ; non prima dies, non ultima mundi, 

Non modus Oceani, numerus non derat harenae. 

Qualis in Euboico vates Cumana recessu, 

Indignata suum multis servire furorem 

Gentibus, ex tanta fatorum strage superba 185 

Excerpsit Romana manu, sic plena laborat 

Phemonoe Phoebo, dum te, consultor operti 

Castalia tellure dei, vix invenit, Appi, 

Inter fata diu quaerens tarn magna latenteni. 

Spumea tunc primum rabies vaesana per ora 190 

Etfluit et gemitus et anhelo clara meatu 

Murmura, tum maestus vastis ululatus in antris 

Extremaeque sonant domita iam virgine voces : 

'* EfFugis ingentes, tanti discriminis expers, 

Bellorum, Romane, minas, sol usque quietem 195 

Euboici vasta lateris convalle tenebis." 

Cetera suppressit faucesque obstruxit Apollo. 

Custodes tripodes fatorum arcanaque mundi 
Tuque potens veri Paean nullumque futuri 
A superis celate diem, suprema ruentis 200 

Imperii caesosque duces et funera regum 
Et tot in Hesperio conlapsas sanguine gentes 
Cur aperire times ? an nondum numina tantum 
Decrevere nefas et adhuc dubitantibus astris 
Pompei damnare caput tot fata tenentur ? 205 

^ Cumae in Campania was founded by Chalcidians from 

2 Appius died in Euboea and was buried there. 



less cliain of events is revealed ; all the future 
struggles to the light ; destiny contends with 
destiny, seeking to be uttered. The creation of the 
world and its destruction, the compass of the Ocean 
and the sum of the sands — all these are before her. 
Even as the Sibyl of Cumae ^ in her Euboean cave, 
resenting that her inspiration should be at the 
service of many nations, chose among them with 
haughty hand and picked out from the great heap 
of destiny the fate of Rome, so Phemonoe, possessed 
by Phoebus, was troubled and sought long ere she 
found the name of Appius concealed among the 
names of mightier men — Appius, who came to ques- 
tion the god hidden in the land of Castalia. When 
she found it, first the wild frenzy overflowed through 
her foaming lips ; she groaned and uttered loud 
inarticulate cries with panting breath ; next, a 
dismal wailing filled the vast cave ; and at last, 
when she was mastered, came the sound of articulate 
speech : " Roman, thou shalt have no part in the 
mighty ordeal and shalt escape the awful threats 
of war ; and thou alone shalt stay at peace ^ in a 
broad hollow of the Euboean coast." Then Apollo 
closed up her throat and cut short her tale. 

Ye oracles that watch over destiny, ye mysteries 
of the universe, and thou, O Paean, master of truth 
from whom no day of future time is hidden by the 
gods, why is it that thou dreadest to reveal the last 
phase in the collapse of empire, the fall of captains 
and deaths of kings, and the destruction of so many 
nations in the carnage of Italy ? Have the gods not 
yet resolved on so great a crime, and, because the 
stars still hesitate to doom Pompey to death, is the 
fate of many held in suspense ? Or is this the object 



Vindicis an gladii facinus poenasque furorum 

Regnaque ad ultores iterum redeuntia Brutos 

Ut peragat fortuna, taces ? Turn pectore vatis 

Inpactae cessere fores, expulsaque templis 

Prosiluit ; perstat rabies, nee cuncta locutae 210 

Quem non emisit superest deus. Ilia feroces 

Torquet adhue oculos totoque vagantia caelo 

Lumina, nunc voltu pavido, nunc torva minaci ; 

Stat numquam facies ; rubor igneus inficit ora 

Liventesque genas ; nee, qui solet esse timenti, 216 

Terribilis sed pallor incst nee fessa quiescunt 

Corda, sed, ut tumidus Boreae post flamina pontus 

Rauca gemit, sic muta levant suspiria vatem. 

Dumque a luce sacra, qua vidit fata, refertur 

Ad volgare iubar, mediae venere tenebrae. 220 

Inmisit Stygiam Paean in viscera Lethen, 

Quae raperet secreta deum. Turn pectore verum 

Fugit, et ad Phoebi tripodas rediere futura, 

Vixque refecta cadit. Nee te vicinia leti 

Territat ambiguis frustratum sortibus, Appi ; 226 

lure sed incerto mundi subsidere regnum 

Chalcidos Euboicae vana spe rapte parabas. 

Heu demens ! nullum belli sentire fragorem, 

Tot mundi caruisse malis, praestare deorum 

Excepta quis Morte potest ? Secreta tenebis 230 

Litoris Euboici memorando condite busto. 

Qua maris angustat fauces saxosa Carystos 

* The reference is to Caesar's murder, which might, if 
foretold, be frustrated. 

2 Here and often "darkness" has the sense of "uncon- 
sciousness " : comp. iii. 735. 




of thy silence — that Fortune may carry through the 
heroic deed of the avenging sword, that mad ambition 
may be punished, and that tyranny may meet once 
more the vengeance of a Brutus ? ^ — Now the doors 
gave way when the priestess dashed her breast 
against them, and forth she rushed, driven from the 
temple. The frenzy abides ; and the god, whom she 
has not shaken off, still controls her, since she has 
not told all her tale. She still rolls wild eyes, and eye- 
balls that roam over all the sky ; her features are never 
quiet, now showing fear, and now grim with menacing 
aspect ; a fiery flush dyes her face and the leaden hue 
of her cheeks ; her paleness is unlike that of fear but 
inspires fear ; her heart finds no rest after its labour ; 
and, as the swollen sea moans hoarsely when the 
North wind has ceased to blow, so voiceless sighs 
still heave her breast. While she was returning 
to the common light of day from the divine radiance 
in which she had seen the future, a darkness ^ 
intervened. For Apollo poured Stygian Lethe into 
her inward parts, to snatch the secrets of heaven 
from her. Then the truth vanished from her bosom, 
and knowledge of the future went back to the 
tripods of the god ; and down she fell, recovering 
with difficulty. But Appius, deceived by a riddling 
oracle, was not alarmed by the nearness of death : 
urged by vain hope, he was eager to take possession 
of a domain at Chalcis in Euboea, while the lordship 
over the world was still unsettled. Madman ! what 
deity save Death alone can assure to a man that he 
will feel no crash of warfare and escape such world- 
wide suffering } Laid in a memorable tomb, you shall 
occupy a sequestered spot on the shore of Euboea, 
where a gorge of the sea is narrowed by the quarries 



Et, tumidis infesta colit quae numina^ Rhamnus, 
Artatus rapido fervet qua gurgite pontus, 
Euripusque trahit, cursum mutantibus undis, 23f 

Chalcidicas puppes ad iniquam classibus Aulin. 

Interea domitis Caesar remeabat Hiberis 
Victrices aquilas alium laturus in orbem, 
Cum prope fatorum tantos per prospera cursus 
Avertere dei. Nullo nam Marte subactus 240 

Intra castrorum timuit tentoria ductor 
Perdere successus scelerum, cum paene fideles 
Per tot bella manus satiatae sanguine tandem 
Destituere ducem, seu maesto classica paulura 
Intermissa sono claususque et frigidus ensis 246 

Expulerat belli furias, seu, praemia miles 
Dum maiora petit, damnat eausamque ducemque 
Et seel ere inbutos etiamnunc venditat enses. 
Haud magis expertus discrimine Caesar in ullo est, 
Quam non e stabili tremulo sed culmine cuncta 250 

Despiceret staretque super titubantia fultus. 
Tot raptis truncus manibus gladioque relictus 
Paene suo, qui tot gentes in bella trahebat, 
Scit non esse duels strictos sed militis enses. 
Non pavidum iam murmur erat, nee pectore tecto 266 
Ira latens ; nam quae dubias constringere mentes 
Causa solet, dum quisque pavet, quibus ipse timori est, 
Seque putat solum regnorum iniusta gravari, 
Haud retinet. Quippe ipsa metus exsolverat audax 

^ Nemesis. 

' His fellow-soldiers. 



of Carystos and by Rhamnus that worships a goddess* 
wlio hates the proud ; there the sea boils in the 
narrows with rushing waters, and there the Euripus 
with irregular current carries the ships of Chalcis to 
Aulis unkind to fleets. 

Meanwhile Caesar was returning triumphant over 
conquered Spain to carry into a new world his 
victorious eagles, when the flowing tide of his 
successes was almost turned aside by Heaven. For, 
unsubdued in the field, the general feared, within 
the tents of his camp, to lose the fruits of crime, 
when those troops that had been faithful through so 
many wars, sated at last with blood, came near to 
forsaking him. Was it perhaps the brief lull in the 
trumpet's dismal note, and the cooling of the sword 
in its sheath, that had cast out the evil spirit of 
war? Or was it greed for greater rewards that 
made the soldiers repudiate their cause and their 
leader, and again put up for sale the swords already 
stained with guilt.'' In no peril was Caesar more 
clearly taught how insecure and even tottering was 
the eminence from which he looked down on the 
world, and how the ground he stood on quaked 
beneath him. Maimed by the loss of so many hands, 
and almost left to the protection of his own weapon, 
he, who was dragging to war so many nations, 
learned that the sword, once drawn, belongs to 
the soldier and not to the general. There was an 
end of timid muttering, an end of anger hidden in 
the secret heart ; for what often binds a wavering 
allegiance — that each fears those ^ to whom he him- 
self is a terror, and each thinks that he alone resents 
the injustice of oppression — that motive had lost its 
hold. For their mere numbers had dispelled their 



Turba suos : quidquid multis peccatur inultum est. 260 

Effudere minas : " Liceat discedere, Caesar, 

A rabie scelenam. Quaeris terraque marique 

His ferrum iugulis, animasque effundere viles 

Quolibet hoste paras : partem tibi Gallia nostri 

Eripuit, partem duris Hispania bellis, 265 

Pars iacet Hesperia, to toque exercitus orbe 

Te vincente perit. Terris fudisse cruorem 

Quid iuvat Arctois Rhodano Rhenoque subactis? 

Tot mihi pro bellis bellum civile dedisti. 

Cepimus expulso patriae cum tecta senatu, 270 

Quos hominum vel quos licuit spoliare deorum ? • 

Imus in omne nefas manibus ferroque nocentes, 

Paupertate pii. Finis quis quaeritur armis? 

Quid satis est, si Roma parum est ? iam respice canos, 

Invalidasque manus et inanes cerne lacertos. 275 

Usus abit vitae, bellis consumpsimus aevum : 

Ad mortem dimitte senes. En inproba vota: 

Non duro liceat morientia caespite membra 

Ponere, non anima galeam fugiente ferire 

Atque oculos morti clausuram quaerere dextram, 280 

Coniugis inlabi lacrimis, unique paratum 

Scire rogum ; liceat morbis finire senectam ; 

Sit praeter gladios aliquod sub Caesare fatum. 

Quid velut ignaros ad quae portenta paremur 

Spe trahis ; usque adeo soli civilibus armis 285 

1 It is surprising that Lucan allowed this tribute to Caesar 
to remain in his poem. 


fears and made them bold : the sin of thousands 
always goes unpunished. Thus they poured forth 
their threats : " Give us leave, Caesar, to depart 
from the madness of civil war. You search over 
land and sea for swords to pierce our hearts, and you 
are ready to spill our worthless lives by the hand of 
any foe. Some of us were snatched from you by Gaul, 
others by the hard campaigns in Spain ; others lie in 
Italy ; over all the world you are victorious and your 
soldiers die. What boots it to have shed our blood 
in Northern lands, where we conquered the Rhone 
and the Rhine ? As a reward for so many campaigns 
you have given me civil war. When we drove forth 
the Senate and captured our native city, what men 
or what gods did you suffer us to rob .'' ^ As we go 
on to every crime, though our hands and swords are 
guilty, our poverty absolves us. What limit of war- 
fare do you seek ? What will satisfy you if Rome is 
not enough ? Consider at last our grey hairs ; be- 
hold our enfeebled hands and wasted arms. We 
have lost the enjoyment of life, we have spent all 
our days in fighting. Now that we are old, disband 
us to die. See how extravagant are our demands ! 
Save us from laying our dying limbs on the hard 
rampart of the camp, from breathing out our 
last breath against the bars of the helmet, and 
from looking in vain for a hand to close our dying 
eyes ; and suffer us to sink into the arms of a weep- 
ing wife, and to know that the pyre stands ready for 
one corpse alone. Suffer us to end our old age by 
sickness ; let not death by the sword be the only 
end for Caesar's soldiers. Why do you lure us on 
with promises, as if we did not know the horrors of 
which we are to be the instruments ? Are we the 



Nescimus, cuius sceleris sit maxima merces? 

Nil actum est bellis, si nondum conperit istas 

Omnia posse raanus. Nee fas nee vincula iuris 

Hoc audere vetant : Rheni mihi Caesar in undis 

Dux erat, hie socius ; facinus, quos inquinat, aequat. 290 

Adde quod ingrato meritorum iudice virtus 

Nostra perit : quidquid gerimus, fortuna vocatur. 

Nos fatum sciat esse suum. Licet omne deorum 

Obsequium speres, irato milite, Caesar^ 

Pax erit." Haec fatus totis discurrere castris 295 

Coeperat infestoque ducem deposcere voltu. 

Sic eat, o superi : quando pietasque fidesque 

Destituunt moresque malos sperare relictum est, 

Finem civili faciat discordia bello. 

Quem non ille ducem potuit terrere tumultus ? 300 
Fata sed in praeceps solitus demittere Caesar 
Fortunamque suam per summa pericula gaudens 
Exercere venit ; nee dum desaeviat ira 
Expectat ; medios properat temptare furores. 
Non illis urbes spoliandaque templa negasset 305 

Tarpeiamque lovis sedem matresque senatus 
Passurasque infanda nurus. Vult omnia certe 
A se saeva peti, vult praemia Martis amari ; 
Militis indomiti tantum mens sana timetur. 
Non pudet, heu ! Caesar, soli tibi bella placere 310 

lanl manibus damnata tuis ? hos ante pigebit 

^ The murder of Caesar himself is meant. 


only combatants in civil war who are ignorant what 
crime ^ earns the richest reward ? All our fighting 
has been in vain if Caesar has yet to learn that our 
hands stick at nothing. Neither our oath nor the 
bonds of law forbid us to be thus bold. Though 
Caesar was my general on the banks of the Rhine, 
he is my comrade here ; crime levels those whom it 
pollutes. Besides, our valour is wasted, since the 
judge of merit is ungrateful ; all our achievements 
are called good luck. Let Caesar learn that we are 
his destiny ; though he hope for entire compliance 
from the gods, yet the anger of his soldiers will bring 
peace." Thus they spoke and began to run to and 
fro about the camp, and to demand their general with 
fury in their faces. So be it, ye gods ! Since duty 
and loyalty are no more and our only remaining 
hope is in wickedness, let mutiny make an end of 
civil war. 

Such an uproar might have terrified any general ; 
but Caesar was accustomed to stake his fortune upon 
desperate measures, and glad to put it to the proof 
in utmost risks ; he came, without waiting till their 
rage should die down, and hastened to defy their 
fury at its height. Unforbidden by him, they might 
have sacked cities and temples, even the Tarpeian 
sanctuary of Jupiter ; they might have inflicted 
unspeakable outrage on the mothers and daughters 
of senators ; he wished undoubtedly that they should 
demand of him leave for all atrocities, he wished 
that the rewards of war should be coveted ; he 
dreaded one prospect only — that his fierce soldiers 
might return to their senses. Do you not blush, 
Caesar, that you alone find pleasure in war which 
your instruments have already condemned? Shall 



Sanguinis ? his ferri grave ius erit, ipse per omne 

Fasque nefasque rues ? lassare et disce sine armis 

Posse pati ; liceat scelerum tibi ponere finem. 

Saeve, quid insequeris ? quid iam nolentibus instas ? 316 

Bellum te civile fugit. Stetit aggere fulti 

Caespitis intrepidus voltu meruitque timeri 

Non metuens, atque haec ira dictnnte profatur : 

"Qui modo in absentem voltu dextraque furebas, 

Miles, habes nudum promptumque ad volnera pectus. 

Hie fuge, si belli finis placet, ense relicto. 321 

Detegit inbelles animas nil fortiter ausa 

Seditio tantumque fugam meditata iuventus 

Ac ducis invicti rebus lassata secundis. 

Vadite meque meis ad bella relinquite fatis. 325 

Invenient haec arma manus, vobisque repulsis 

Tot reddet Fortuna viros, quot tela vacabunt. 

Anne fugam Magni tanta cum classe secuntur 

Hesperiae gentes, nobis victoria turbam 

Non dabit, inpulsi tantum quae praemia belli 330 

Auferat et vestri rapta mercede laboris 1 

Lauriferos nullo comitetur volnere currus ? 

Vos despecta, senes, exhaustaque sanguine turba 

Cernetis nostros iam plebs Romana triumphos. 

Caesaris an cursus vestrae sentire putatis 335 

Damnum posse fugae ? veluti, si cuncta minentur 

Flumina quos miscent pelago subducere fontes, 

Non magis ablatis umquam descenderit aequor. 




tliey, sooner than you, sicken of bloodshed and resent 
the tyranny of the sword, while you rush on through 
right and wrong withoirt limit ? Grow weary ; learn 
to find life endurable without fighting ; suffer your- 
self to set a limit to wickedness. Why this ruthless 
pressure, this compulsion of men who have lost the 
will to fight? Civil war is slipping out of your 
grasp. — He took his stand on a mound of turf piled 
high ; his countenance was undismayed, and his own 
fearlessness justly inspired fear in others. Anger 
prompted the words he spoke : " Soldiers, who lately 
raged against an absent man, with fury in your faces 
and gestures, here is my breast bare and ready for 
your stabs. Plant here your swords and fly, if you 
wish to end the war. That you have no stomach 
for fighting is revealed ; for your mutiny ends in 
words ; you are warriors whose only purpose is 
flight ; your leader's victories have known no check, 
and yet you have had enough. Begone ! leave me 
to my own fortune to carry on war. These swords 
will find hands to hold them ; and when I have dis- 
carded you. Fortune will give me in exchange a 
brave man for every unused weapon. If Pompey, in 
flight, is followed by a mighty fleet and the peoples 
of Italy, shall not victory give me a host, merely to 
carry off the prizes of a war already decided, to 
snatch the reward of your hardships, and to walk 
unwounded by my laurelled car, while you, a despised 
mob, old men drained of blood, sunk to be the rabble 
of Rome, will watch us triumph ? Think you that 
Caesar's career can feel the loss of your desertion ? 
*Tis as if all the rivers threatened to withdraw the 
waters they mingle with the sea : if those waters 
were removed, the sea-level would not fall any more 



Quam nunc crescit, aquis. An vos momenta putatis 

Ulla dedisse mihi ? nximquam sic cura deorum 340 

Se premet, ut vestrae morti vestraeque saluti 

Fata vacent ; procerum motus haec cuncta seciintur : 

Humanum paucis vivit genus. Orbis Hiberi 

Horror et arctoi nostro sub nomine miles, 

Pompeio certe fugeres duce. Fortis in armis 315 

Caesareis Labienus erat; nunc transfuga vilis 

Cum duce praelato terras atque aequora lustrat. 

Nee melior mihi vestra fides, si bella nee hoste 

Nee duce me geritis. Quisquis mea signa relinquens 

Non Pompeianis tradit sua partibus arma, 350 

Hie numquam vult esse meus. Sunt ista profecto 

Curae castra deis, qui me conimittere tantis 

Non nisi mutato voluerunt milite bellis. 

Heu, quantum Fortuna umeris iam pondere fessis 

Amolitur onus ! sperantes omnia dextras 355 

Exarmare datur, quibus hie non sufficit orbis : 

lam certe mihi bella geram. Discedite castris, 

Tradite nostra viris ignavi signa Quirites. 

At paucos, quibus haec rabies auctoribus arsit, 

Non Caesar sed poena tenet. Procumbite terra 360 

Infidumque caput feriendaque tendite coUa. 

Et tu, quo solo stabunt iam robore castra. 

Tiro rudis, specta poenas et disce ferire, 

Disce mori." Tremuit saeva sub voce minantis 

* To address soldiers as Quirites ia equivalent to disbanding 



than now their presence raises it. Think you that 
you have ever turned the scale in my favour ? Provi- 
dence will never stoop so low that fate can attend 
to the life and death of such as you. All these 
events depend upon the actions of the leaders ; it is 
for the sake of a few that mankind in general lives. 
While you bore the name of Caesar, you were the 
terror of the Spanish world, and of the North ; but, 
had Pompey led you, you would certainly have fled. 
Labienus was eminent in war while he bore my 
arms ; now, a despised deserter, he hurries over land 
and sea with the leader whom he preferred to me. 
I shall think no better of your loyalty if you fight 
neither for me nor against me. If any man leaves 
my standards without offering his sword to Pompey's 
faction, he desires never to be mine. This camp is 
beyond doubt favoured by heaven ; for the gods 
designed that I should change my soldiers before 
embarking on such great wars. Ah ! how great a 
burden Fortune is lifting now from shoulders that 
are already overweighted! I have the chance to 
disband men whose greed is unbounded, and for 
whom the world is not enough. Henceforward at 
least I shall fight battles to please myself. Begone 
from the camp and surrender my standards to men, 
ye cowards and civilians ! ^ Those few, at whose 
instigation this madness broke out, are detained here 
not by their general but by their punishment. 
Down with you upon the ground, and stretch out for 
the axe your traitorous heads and necks I And you 
raw recruits, who alone will form the backbone of the 
army in future, watch their execution, and learn 
how to slay and to be slain." — The spiritless mob 
cowered before his fierce and menacing words ; and 



Volgus iners, unumque caput tarn magna iuventus 365 

Privatum factura timet, velut ensibus ipsis 

Imperet invito moturus milite ferrum. 

Ipse pavet, ne tela sibi dextraeque negentur 

Ad scelus hoc, Caesar : vicit patientia saevi 

Spem ducis, et iugulos non tantum praestitit enses. 370 

Nil magis adsuetas sceleri quam perdere mentes 

Atque perire tenet. Tam diri foederis ictu 

Parta quies, poenaque redit placata iuventus. 

Brundisium decimis iubet banc attingere castris 
Et cunctas revocare rates, quas avius Hydrus 376 

Antiquusque Taras secretaque litora Leucae, 
Quas recipit Salapina palus et subdita Sipus 
Montibus, Ausoniam qua torquens frugifer oram 
Delmatico Boreae Calabroque obnoxius Austro 
Apulus Hadriacas exit Garganus in undas. 380 

Ipse petit trepidam tutus sine milite Romam 
lam doctam servire togae, populoque precanti 
Scilicet indulgens summo dictator honori 
Contigit et laetos fecit se consule fastos. 
Namque omnes voces, per quas iam tempore tanto 385 
Mentimur dominis, haec priraum repperit aetas. 
Qua, sibi ne ferri ius ullum, Caesar, abesset, 
Ausonias voluit gladiis miscere secures, 
Addidit et fasces aquilis et nomen inane 
Imperii rapiens signavit tempora digna 390 

* Now Otranto. 

2 Lit. '*a dictator was vouchsafed to the highest office," i.e. 
Caesar, being dictator, conferred honour on the consulship by 
accepting it, 



the great army feared a single man whom they 
could have stripped of his command, as if he could 
control their very swords and make the steel obey 
him when the men refused obedience. Caesar him- 
self dreaded that weapons and hands would be 
refused him for the performance of this crime ; but 
they put up with more than their cruel commander 
thought possible, and })rovided not only executioners 
but the victims also. Between hearts inured to crime 
there is no stronger bond than inflicting and enduring 
death. Order was restored by the conclusion of this 
dreadful pact, and the men returned to their duty : 
the execution had settled their grievances. 

They receive orders to reach Brundisium in nine 
days' march, and to summon thither all vessels that 
find harbour in remote Hydrus ^ or ancient Tarentum 
or the sequestered shore of Leuca or in the Sala- 
pinian pool and Sipus beneath the hills, where 
Garganus curves the Italian coast with its oak-woods, 
and meets the North wind from Dalmatia and the 
South wind from Calabria, as it juts out from Apulia 
into the waters of the Adriatic. Caesar himself, safe 
without his army, hastened to terrified Rome ; she 
had learned by now to obey him even when he wore 
the garb of peace. Yielding forsooth to the people's 
prayer, a dictator was added to the list of consuls,^ 
and Caesar, by his consulship, made glad the 
Calendar. For that age invented all the lying titles 
that we have used so long to our masters — that age 
in which Caesar, that he might grasp every right to 
use the sword, desired to combine the Roman axes 
with his blades and add the fasces to his eagles. 
Snatching at the empty name of legal office, he set 
a fitting mark upon that time of sorrow ; for what 



Maesta nota ; nam quo melius Pharsalicus annus 

Consule notus erit ? Fingit soUemnia Campus 

Et non admissae dirimit suffragia plebis 

Decantatque tribus et vana versat in urna. 

Nee caelum servare licet : tonat augure surdo, 395 

Et laetae iurantur aves bubone sinistro. 

Inde perit primum quondam veneranda potestas 

luris inops ; tantum careat ne nomine tenipus, 

Menstruus in fastos distinguit saecula consul. 

Nee non Iliacae numen quod praesidet Albae, 400 

Haud meritum Latio soUemnia sacra subacto, 

Vidit flammifera confectas nocte Latinas. 

Inde rapit cursus et, quae piger Apulus arva 
Deseruit rastris et inerti tradidit herbae, 
Ocior et caeli flammis et tigride feta 405 

Transcurrit, curvique tenens Minoia tecta 
Brundisii clausas ventis brumalibus undas 
Invenit et pavidas hiberno sidere classes. 
Turpe duci visum, rapiendi tempora belli 
In segnes exisse moras, portuque teneri 410 

Dum pateat tutum vel non felicibus aequor. 
Expertes animos pelagi sic robore couplet : 
" Fortius hiberni flatus caelumque fretumque. 
Cum cepere, tenent, quam quos incumbere certos 
Perfida nubiferi vetat inconstantia veris. 415 

Nee maris anfractus lustrandaque litora nobis, 

* Under the Republic, an augur might watch the sky for 
unfavourable omens, such as might hinder an election being 

* Lucan exaggerates here. Under the Empire it became 
common for consuls to hold office for less than a year ; but 
during 48 B.C. there were only two consuls — Caesar and 
P. Servilius Vatia. 

' Jupiter Latiaria. * Owing to the war. 



consul has more right to give Ills name to the year of 
Pharsalia? The Campus sees a travesty of the 
annual ceremonies : the people are exchided, but 
their votes are sorted, the names of the tribes 
are rehearsed, and a pretence is made of shaking 
them in the urn. It is not permitted to watch the 
sky:^ it thunders, but the augur is deaf; and they 
swear that the omens are favourable, though an owl 
flies on the left hand. Then first the office once so 
venerable lost its power and began to decay : only, 
that the period might not lack a name, consuls 
appointed from month to month ^ mark off the years 
upon the record-roll. Further, the god^ who 
presides over Trojan Alba, though, when Latium 
was conquered, he had ceased to deserve his 
customary rites, witnessed the bonfire at night that 
ends the Latin festival. 

Hurrying away from Rome, Caesar, swifter than 
the lightning or the mother tigress, sped over the 
land which the Apulians, reduced to idleness,* had 
ceased to till with rakes and surrendered to the 
weeds. When he reached the Cretan city of Brun- 
disium on its bay, he found the sea closed by winter 
storms and tiie fleets scared by the weather of that 
season. He thought it shame that the time for 
hastening the war to a close had ended in sloth and 
idleness, and that he should be detained in harbour, 
till others, who were no favourites of Fortune, found 
the sea safe and open. Thus he filled with confidence 
men who knew naught of the sea : " When the gales 
of winter have mastered sky and sea, they keep their 
hold more strongly than those which the treacherous 
fickleness of rainy spring prevents from blowing 
steadily. We have no need to track the curves of 



Sed recti fluctus soloque Aquilone secandi. 

Hie utinam summi curvet carchesia mali 

Incumbatque furens et Graia ad moenia perflet, 

Ne Pompeiani Phaeacum e litore toto 420 

Languida iactatis conprendant carbasa remis. 

Rumpite, quae retinent felices vincula proras ; 

lamdudum nubes et saevas perdimus undas." 

Sidera prima poli Phoebo laber.te sub undas 
Exierant, et luna suas iam fecerat umbras, 425 

Cum pariter solvere rates ; totosque rudentes 
Laxavere sinus, et flexo navita cornu 
Obliquat laevo pede carbasa summaque pandens 
Sipara velorum perituras colligit auras. 
Vix ^ primum levior propellere lintea ventns 430 

Incipit exiguumque tument, et reddita malo 
In mediam cecidere ratem, terraque relicta 
Non valet ipsa sequi puppes quae vexerat aura. 
Aequora lenta iacent, alto torpore liga^ae 
Pigrius inmotis haesere paludibus undae. 435 

Sic stat iners Scythicas astringens Bosporos undas. 
Cum glacie retinente fretum non inpulit Hister^ 
Inmensumque gelu tegitur mare ; conprimit unda, 
Deprendit quascumque rates, nee pervia velis 
Aequora frangit eques, fluctuque latente sonantem 440 
Orbita migrantis scindit Maeotida Bessi. 
Saeva quies pelagi, maestoque ignava profundo 
Stagna iacentis aquae; veluti deserta regente 

1- Vix Housman : Ut MSS. 

^ Corcyra. 

' Caesar's ships were merchant ships, which depended upon 
sails, whereas Ponipey's warships were rowed. 
3 The Sea of Azov. 



sea and shore ; we have merely to cut the waves in 
a straight line, with the help of the North wind 
only. May it blow in all its fury, till it bends the 
tops of our masts, and drive us all the way to the 
cities of Greece ; else Pompey's sailors, issuing from 
all the coast of Phaeacia,^ may overtake our flagging 
sails by the stroke of their oars.^ Cut the cables 
which detain our victorious prows ; we have long 
been wasting the chance given us by cloudy skies 
and angry waves." 

The sun sank beneath the sea, the first stars had 
come out in the sky, and the moon had begun to 
throw shadows of her own, when they cast loose 
their ships all together. The ropes shook out the 
sails at full stretch ; the sailors bent the yards and 
slanted the canvas, keeping the sheet to the left, 
and spread the high topsails to catch the breeze 
that would otherwise be lost. Hardly had the light 
air begun to drive the sails till they puffed out a 
little, when they fell back on the mast and drooped 
towards the centre of the ship ; and, when land was 
left behind, the very breeze that had carried them 
could not keep pace with the vessels. The sea lay 
motionless ; chained in dead calm, the waves had 
less movement than a stagnant pool. — Thus the 
Bosporus lies idle and binds the Northern Sea, when 
the Danube, arrested by frost, no longer urges 
on the deep, and the vast sea is covered with ice ; 
the water holds in a vice every ship it has grasped ; 
the rider strikes the solid floor that no sail may 
traverse ; and the wheel-track of the Bessian nomad 
furrows the Maeotian mere,^ while the surge groans 
beneath. A grim stillness broods over the dismal 
deep; and the sluggish pools of the flat expanse 



Aequora natura cessant, pontusque vetustas 

Oblitus servare vices non commeat aestu, 445 

Non horrore tremit, non solis imagine vibrat. 

Casibus innumeris fixae patuere carinae. 

Illinc infestae classes et inertia tonsis 

Aequora moturae, gravis hinc languore profundi 

Obsessis ventura fames. Nova vota timori 450 

Sunt inventa novo, fluctus nimiasque precari 

Ventorum vires, dum se torpentibus unda 

Excutiat stagnis et sit mare. Nubila nusquam 

Undarumque minae ; caelo languente fretoque 

Naufragii spes omnis abit. Sed nocte fugata 455 

Laesum nube dies iubar extulit imaque sensim 

Coneussit pelagi movitque Ceraunia nautis. 

[nde rapi coepere rates atque aequora classem 

Curva sequi, quae iam vento fluctuque secundo 

Lapsa Palaestinas uncis confixit harenas. 460 

Prima duces vidit iunctis consistere castris 
Tellus, quam volucer Genusus, quam mollior Hapsus 
Circumeunt ripis. Hapso gesture carinas 
Causa palus, lent quam fallens egerit unda; 
At Genusum nunc sole nives, nunc imbre solutae 4C5 
Praecipitant ; neuter longo se gurgite lassat, 
Sed minimum terrae vicino litore novit. 
Hoc fortuna loco tantae duo nomina famae 


stand idle ; as though abandoned by the natural 
force that governs it, the sea forgets to keep 
its ancient alternations, and is not moved to and 
fro by the tides ; no ripple ruffles it, nor does it 
twinkle with any reflection of the sun. — Caesar's 
becalmed ships were exposed to countless dangers. 
On one side were the hostile vessels that might 
stir the sluggish waters with their oars ; on the 
other was the dread approach of famine, while they 
were yet beleaguered by the calm. New prayers 
were found to meet the new danger — prayers for 

Or stormy seas and violent winds, if only the sea 
would rouse from its dead stagnation and be sea 
indeed. But no clouds nor angry waves were visible 
anywhere : the stillness of sky and ocean robbed 
them of all hope of shipwreck. When, however, 

fei- darkness was dispelled, day lifted up the sunlight 
obscured by cloud, and stirred the ocean depths by 
degrees, and brought the Ceraunian mountains 
nearer to the fleet. Soon the ships gathered speed, 
and the breakers followed in their wake, till they 
sped along with favouring wind and tide and 
grappled with their anchor-flukes the sands of 

The first place that saw the rivals halt and pitch 
their camps side by side was the land which the 
swift Genusus and gentler Hapsus encompass with 
their banks. The Hapsus is made navigable by a 
lake, which it drains imperceptibly with quiet flow ; 
but the Genusus is driven fast by the snows thawed 
now by sun and now by rain ; neither river is 
wearied by the length of its course : the sea is 
close, and they know little of the land. This was 
the place where Fortune matched two names of 

VOL. I. K 


Conposuit, miserique fuit spes inrita mundi. 

Posse duces parva campi statione diremptos 470 

Adrnotum damnare nefas ; nam cernere voltus 

Et voces audire datur, multosque per annos 

Dilectus tibi, Magne, socer post pignora tanta. 

Sanguinis infausti subolem mortemque nepotum, 

Te nisi Niliaca propius non vidit harena. 475 

Caesaris attonitam miscenda ad proelia mentem 
Ferre moras scelerum partes iussere relictae. 
Ductor erat cunctis audax Antonius armis 
lam turn civili meditatus Leucada bello. 
Ilium saepe minis Caesar precibusque morantem 480 
Evocat : " O mundo tantorum causa laborum. 
Quid superos et fata tenes ? sunt cetera cursu 
Acta meoj summam rapti per prospera belli 
Te poscit fortuna manum. Non rupta vadosis 
Syrtibus incerto Libye nos dividit aestu. 486 

Numquid inexperto tua credimus arma profundo, 
Inque novos traheris casus ? ignave, venire 
Te Caesar, non ire, iubet. Prior ipse per hostes 
Percussi medios ^ alieni iuris harenas : 
Tu mea castra times ? pereuntia tempora fati 490 

Conqueror, in ventos inpendo vota fretumque. 
Ne retine dubium cupientes ire per aequor ; 

* medios Ovdendorf: raedias MSS, 

* Two children were born to Pompey and Julia; both died 
in earliest infancy. 

. ' M. Antonius, a member of the Second Triumvirate, of 
43 B.C. 

* Where he and Cleopatra fought against Augustus and 
Rome; and Lucan pretends to believe that Antony was now 
disloyal to Caesar. 



such high renown; but the sufTering world was 
disappointed in the hope that the rivals, when 
parted by but a little space of ground, might re- 
pudiate wickedness thus forced upon their notice. 
For each could see the other's face and hear his 
voice ; and the father-in-law whom Magnus had 
loved for many years never but once had a nearer 
view of him after the close tie was broken and 
when the grandchildren/ offspring of an ill-starred 
union, were dead — and that once was on the sands 
of the Nile. 

Though Caesar was frantic to join battle, he was 
forced to endure a postponement of wicked war by 
the partisans he had left in Italy. Bold Antony,^ 
who commanded all those forces, thus early, during 
the civil war, was plotting an Actium.^ Again and 
again Caesar urged him to haste with threats and 
entreaties: "On you lies the blame for the sore 
troubles that afflict mankind ; why do you arrest 
the course of destiny and the will of Heaven ? All 
else has been done with my accustomed speed, and 
Fortune now demands of you the finishing touch 
for a war that has rushed on from victory to victory. 
We are not parted by the shifting tides of Libya — 
Libya whose coast is broken by the shoals of the 
Syrtes. Am I risking your army on a sea I have 
not tried, or drawing you into dangers unknown ? 
Coward ! Caesar bids you come, not go. •! myself 
went before through the midst of the enemy, and 
my prow struck a shore that others controlled ; do 
you fear my camp ? I complain that you waste the 
hours granted by destiny ; 1 spend my prayers upon 
the winds and waves. Check not the hearts that 
are eager to cross the treacherous main ; the soldiers, 



Si bene nota mihi est, ad Caesaris arma iuventus 

Naufragio venisse volet. lam voce doloris 

Utendum est : non ex aequo divisimus orbem: 495 

Epirum Caesarque tenet totusque senatus, 

Ausoniam tu solus habes." His terque quaterque 

Vocibus excitum postquam cessare videbat, 

Dum se desse dels ac non sibi numina credit, 

Sponte per incautas audet temptare tenebras 600 

Quod iussi timuere fretum, temeraria prono 

Expertus cessisse deo, fluctusque verendos 

Classibus exigua sperat superare carinaj^^ 

Solverat armorum fessas nox languida curas, 
Parva quies miseris, in quorum pectora somno 505 

Dat vires fortuna minor ; iam castra silebant, 
Tertia iam vigiles commoverat hora secundos ; 
Caesar soUicito per vasta silentia gressu 
Vix famulis audenda parat, cunctisque relictis 
Sola placet Fortuna comes. Tentoria postquam 510 
Egressus vigilum somno cedentia membra 
Transsiluit questus tacite, quod fallere posset, 
Litora curva legit primisque invenit in undis 
Rupibus exesis haerentem fune carinam. 
Rectorem dominumque ratis secura tenebat 515 

Haud procul inde domus, non ullo robore fulta 
Sed sterili iunco cannaque intexta palustri 
Et latus inversa nudum munita phaselo. 
Haec Caesar bis terque manu quassantia tectum 

* Epirus stands for the East, Italy for the West. 

* Whose lives were worthless. 



if I know them, will be willing to join my forces at 
the cost of shipwreck. I must even use the language 
of resentment : the division of the world between 
us is unfair : Caesar and all the Senate share Epirus ^ 
between them, while you keep Italy all to yourself.'* 
Again and again he summoned Antony forth by 
these appeals ; and, when he saw him still delay, 
believing that Heaven was more true to him than 
he to Heaven, he ventured in the dangerous dark- 
ness to defy the sea, thus doing of his own accord 
what others had feared to do when bidden. He 
knew by experience that rashness succeeds when 
Heaven favours, and hoped to surmount in a little 
boat the waves that even fleets must fear. 

Drowsy night had relaxed the weary toil of war 
— night, a brief respite to the wretches over whose 
breasts their humbler estate suffers sleep to prevail ; 
there was silence in the camp, and the third hour 
of night had roused the second watch. Stepping 
anxiously through the desolate silence, Caesar pre- 
pares to do what even slaves ^ hardly could dare : he 
left all behind him and chose Fortune for his sole 
companion. He passed outside the tents ; he 
sprang over the bodies of the sleeping sentries, 
vexed within himself that he was able to elude 
them ; he traced the winding shore and found by 
the edge of the sea a boat moored by a rope to 
the hollowed rocks. The skipper and owner of the 
boat had a dwelling not far away that gave him 
shelter and safety ; no timber supported it, but 
it was wattled with barren rush and reed from the 
marshes, and tlie side exposed to the sea was 
})rotected by a slviff turned upside down. Here 
Caesar smote again and again upon the door till 



Limina commovit. MoUi consurgit Amyclas, 520 

Quem dabat alga, toro. " Quisnam mea naufragus'' 

" Tecta petit ? aut quem nostrae fortuna coegit 
Auxilium sperare casae ? " Sic fatus ab alto 
Aggere iam tepidae sublato fune favillae 
Scintillam tenuem commotos pavit in ignes, 526 

Securus belli ; praedam civilibus arinis 
Scit non esse casas. O vitae tuta facultas 
Pauperis angustique lares ! o munera nondum 
Intellecta deum ! Quibus hoc contingere teraplis 
Aut potuit muris, nullo trepidare tumultu 630 

Caesarea pulsante manu ? Turn poste recluso 
Dux ait : " Expecta votis maiora modestis 
Spesque tuas laxa, iuvenis : si iussa secutus 
Me vehis Hesperiam, non ultra cuncta carinae 
Debebis manibusque importunamve fereris 
Pauperiem dejtens ^ inopem duxisse senectam. 636 

Ne cessa praebere deo tua fata volenti 
Angustos opibus subitis inplere penates." 
Sic fatur, quamquam plebeio tectus amictu, 
Indociiis privata loqui. Turn pauper Amyclas : 
" Multa quidem prohibent nocturno credere ponto ; 540 
Nam sol non rutilas deduxit in aequora nubes 
Concordesque tulit radios : Noton altera Phoebi, 
Altera pars Borean diducta luce vocabat. 
Orbe quoque exhaustus medio languensque recessit 
Spectantes oculos infirmo lumine passus. 546 

Lunaque non gracili surrexit lucida cornu 

* The line in italics was inserted by Housman, 

* To use as a torch, apparently. 


the roof shook. Amyclas rose up from the soft bed 
that seaweed gave him. " What shipwrecked sailor 
seeks my roof?" he asked, '^ or whom has chance 
compelled to hope for aid from my cabin } " Thus 
speaking, he withdrew a rope^ from a high pile of 
ashes which time had cooled, and fanned the slender 
spark till he fed it into flame. No thought of the 
war had he : he knew that poor men's huts are 
not plundered in time of civil war. How safe and 
easy the poor man's life and his humble dwell- 
ing ! How blind men still are to Heaven's gifts ! 
What temple, what fortified town, could say as 
much — that it thrills with no alarm when Caesar 
knocks ? Then, when the door was unfastened, 
Caesar spoke : " Enlarge your hopes, young man, 
and look forward to bounty beyond your humble 
prayers. If you obey my orders and carry me to 
Italy, you shall not henceforward owe all to your 
boat and your own arms, nor shall you be said 
to have spent a needy old age in lamenting cruel 
poverty. Be swift to place your destiny in the 
hands of Heaven, which wishes to fill your pinched 
home with sudden wealth." Thus he spoke ; for 
though the garb he wore was humble, he knew not 
how to speak the language of a private man. Then 
the poor man, Amyclas, answered : " Many signs, 
indeed, prevent me from trusting the sea to-night. 
Thus the sun carried down into the Ocean no ruddy 
clouds, and showed no symmetrical ring of rays ; for 
with divided beams one half of his disk summoned 
the South wind, the other the North. Also, his 
centre was hollowed and dim at sunset, and the 
feeble light suffered the eye to gaze on it. The moon 
too, when she appeared, did not shine with slender 



Aut orbis medii puros exesa recessus, 

Nee duxit recto tenuata cacumina cornu, 

Ventorumque notam rubuit ; turn lurida pallens 

Ora tulit voltu sub nubem tristis ituro. 650 

Sed mihi nee motus nemorum nee litoris ictus 

Nee placet incertus qui provoeat aequora delphin, 

Aut sieeum quod mergus amat, quodque ausa volare 

Ardea sublimis pinnae confisa natanti, 

Quodque caput spargens undis,velut oecupet imbrem, 

Instabili gressu metitur litora comix. 556 

Sed si magnarum poscunt discrimina rerum, 

Haud dubitem praebere manus : vel litora tangara 

lussa, vel hoc potius pelagus flatusque negabunt." 

Haec fatur solvensque ratem dat carbasa ventis, 560 

Ad quorum motus non solum lapsa per altum 

Aera dispersos traxere cadentia sulcos 

Sidera, sed summis etiam quae fixa tenentur 

Astra polls sunt visa quati. Niger inficit horror 

Terga maris, longo per multa volumina tractu 565 

Aestuat unda minax, flatusque incerta futuri 

Turbida testantur conceptos aequora ventos. 

Tunc rector trepidae fatur ratis : " Aspice, saevum 

Quanta paret pelagus ; Zephyros intendat an Austros, 

Incertum est : puppim dubius ferit undique pontus. 570 

Nubibus et caelo Notus est ; si murmura ponti 



horn ; nor was she carved out in a clear-cut hollow 
of her central orb ; nor did she prolong her tapering 
extremities with upright horn. She was red, with 
an indication of storms ; then she was pale and 
showed a sallow face, and saddened as her counten- 
ance began to pass behind a cloud. For the rest, 
1 like not the tossing of the trees or the beat of 
the waves on the shore ; or when the dolphin with 
changing course challenges the sea to rise, and the 
cormorant prefers the land, and the heron dares 
to fly aloft and trusts his water-cleaving pinion, and 
the crow, sprinkling his head with brine, seems to 
forestall the rain and paces the shore with lurching 
gait — I like not these signs. Nevertheless, if a 
great crisis requires it, I cannot hesitate to lend my 
aid : either I will land you where you bid me, or 
the wind and waves, not I, shall say you nay." — 
With these words he unmoored his boat and spread 
his canvas to the winds. At the motion of the 
winds, not only the meteors which glide through 
the high heaven drawing after them trains of 
diffused light as they fall, but also the stars which 
remain fixed in the summit of the sky, seemed to 
be shaken. A shudder of darkness blackened the 
ridges of the sea ; the angry deep boiled with a 
long swell, wave following wave ; and the swollen 
billows, uncertain of the cominfij storm, gave token 
that they were in travail with hem pest. Then said 
the skipper of the restless boat : " See what mighty 
mischief the cruel sea is brewing. I know not 
whether it threatens us with winds from West or 
South ; for the shifting current strikes the boat 
from every side. The South wind prevails in the 
clouds and in the sky ; but if we mark the moaning 



Consulimus, Cori veniet mare. Gurgite tanto 

Nee ratis Hesperias tanget nee naufragus oras. 

Desperare viam et vetitos convertere cursus 

Sola salus. Liceat vexata litora puppe 675 

Prendere^ ne longe nimium sit proxima tellus." 

Fisus cuncta sibi cessura pericula Caesar 
"Sperne minas" inquit "pelagi ventoque furenti 
Trade sinum. Italiam si caelo auctore recusas. 
Me pete. Sola tibi causa est haec iusta timoris, 580 
Veetorem non nosse tuum, quern numina numquam 
Destituunt, de quo male tunc fortuna meretur. 
Cum post vota venit. Medias perrumpe procellas 
Tutela secure mea. Caeli iste fretique, 
JNon puppis nostrae, labor est : banc Caesare pressam 585 
A fluctu defendet onus. Nee longa furori 
Ventorum saevo dabitur mora : proderit undis 
Ista ratis. Ne flecte manum, fuge proxima velis 
Litora : turn Calabro portu te crede potitum. 
Cum iam non poterit puppi nostraeque salutl 590 

Altera terra dari. Quid tanta strage paretur, 
Ignoras : quaerit pelagi caelique tumultu. 
Quod praestet Fortuna mihi." Non plura locuto 
Avolsit laceros percussa puppe rudentes 
Turbo rapax fragilemque super volitantia malum 695 
Vela tulit ; sonuit victis conpagibus alnus. 


of the sea, a gale from the North-west will master 
the main. In such a tlood neither ship nor ship- 
wrecked sailor will ever reach the shore of Italy. 
Our one cliance is to resign all hope of a passage 
and retrace our forbidden course. Suffer me to 
make the shore with my battered craft, or else the 
nearest land may prove too distant." 

But Caesar was confident that all dangers would 
make way for him. "Despise the angry sea/' he 
cried, '*and spread your sail to the raging wind. 
If you refuse to make for Italy when Heaven 
forbids, then make for it when I command. One 
cause alone justifies your fear — that you know not 
whom you carry. He is a man whom the gods 
never desert, whom Fortune treats scurvily when 
she comes merely in answer to his prayer. Burst 
through the heart of the storm, relying on my 
protection. Yonder trouble concerns the sky and 
sea, but not our bark ; for Caesar treads the deck, 
and her freight shall insure her against the waves. 
No long duration shall be permitted to the fierce 
fury of the winds : this bark shall be the salvation 
of the sea. Turn not your helm ; use your sail 
to flee from the neighbouring shore ; then you must 
believe that you have gained an Italian harbour, 
when it is no longer possible for any other land 
to shelter our boat and secure our safety. You 
know not the meaning of this wild confusion : by 
this hurly-burly of sea and sky Fortune is seeking 
a boon to confer on me." Ere he spoke another 
word, the raging whirlwind smote the vessel and 
tore away the tattered cordage, and bore off the 
sails that fluttered over the frail mast, the hull 
groaned as the seams gave way. 



Inde ruunt toto concita pericula mundo. 
Primus ab oceano caput exeris Atlanteo^ 
Core, movens aestus ; iam te tollente furehat 
Pontus et in scopulos totas erexerat undas : 
Occurrit gelidus Boreas pelagusque retundit, 
Et dubium pendet, vento cui concidat, aequor. 
Sed Scythici vicit rabies Aquilonis et undas 
Torsit et abstrusas penitus vada fecit harenas. 
Nee perfert pontum Boreas ad saxa suuinque 
In fluctus Cori frangit mare, motaque possunt 
Aequora subductis etiam concurrere ventis. 
Non Euri cessasse minas, non imbribus atrum 
Aeolii iacuisse Notum sub carcere saxi 
Crediderim ; cunctos solita de parte ruentes 
Defendisse suas violento turbine terras. 
Sic pelagus mansisse loco. Nam priva ^ procellis 
Aequora rapta ferunt : Aegaeas transit in undas 
Tyrrhenum, sonat lonio vagus Hadria ponto. 
A quotiens frustra pulsatos aequore montes 
Obruit ilia dies ! quam celsa cacumina pessura 
Tellus victa dedit ! non ullo litore surgunt 
Tam validi fluctus, alioque ex orbe voluti 
A magno venere mari, mundumque coercens 
Monstriferos agit unda sinus. Sic rector Olympi 
Cuspide fraterna lassatum in saecula fulmen 
Adiuvit, regnoque accessit terra secundo, 

^ priva Hoasman : parva MS8, 

^ •' The sea as a whole " is meant. 



And now dangers, summoned from all the world, 
came rushing on. First the North-west wind raised 
his head above the Atlantic Ocean and stirred the 
tides ; and soon the sea, roused by him, was raging 
and would have lifted up all its waves to cover 
the cliffs ; but the cold North wind struck athwart 
and beat back the flood, till the sea hung doubtful 
before which wind it would fall. But the fury of 
the Scythian North wind prevailed : it lashed the 
waves in circles and changed to shallows the sands 
hidden far below. But it could not carry the sea 
right to the shore, but broke its tide against the 
waves raised by the North-west wind ; and, even 
if the winds were hushed, the angry waters might 
carry on their strife. I cannot but believe that the 
fierce East wind was active then, and that the 
South wind, black with storm, was not idle in the 
prison of Aeolus' cave, and that all the winds, 
rushing from their accustomed quarters, protected 
their own regions with furious hurricane ; and that 
therefore the sea ^ remained in its place. Separate 
seas were caught up by the storm and carried away 
by the winds : the Tyrrhene Sea migrated to the 
Aegean, and the Adriatic moved and roared in the 
Ionian basin. That day buried mountains which 
the waves had often before battered in vain ; and 
the defeated earth sent lofty peaks to the bottom. 
No shore gave birth to these mighty waves : they 
came rolling from another region and from the 
outer sea, and the waters which encircle the world 
drove on these teeming billows. Thus, when his 
own thunderbolt was weary, the Ruler of Olympus 
called in his brother's trident to help in punishing 
mankind ; and earth became an appanage of the 



Cum mare convolvit gentes, cum litora Telhys 

Noluit ulla pati caelo contenta teneri. 

Tum quoque tanta maris moles crevisset in astra, 625 

Ni superum rector press'S'^et nubibus undas. 

Non caeli nox ilia fuit : latet obsitus aer 

Infernae pallore domus nimbisque gravatus 

Deprimitur, fluctusque in nubibus accipit imbrem. 

Lux etiam metuenda perit, nee fulgura currunt 630 

Clara^ sed obscurum nimbosus dissilit aer. 

Tum superum convexa tremunt, atque arduus axis 

Intonuit, motaque poli conpage laborant. 

Extimuit natura chaos ; rupisse videntur 

Concordes elementa moras, rursusque redire 635 

Nox manes mixtura deis : spes una salutis, 

Quod tanta mundi nondum periere ruina. 

Quantum Leucadio placidus de vertice pontus 

Despicitur, tantum nautae videre trementes 

Fluctibus e summis praeceps mare \ cumque tumentes 640 

Rursus hiant undae, vix eminet aequore malus. 

Nubila tanguntur velis et terra carina. 

Nam pelagus, qua parte sedet, non celat harenas 

Exhaustum in cumulos, omnisque in fluctibus unda est. 

Artis opem vicere metus, nescitque magister, 645 

Quam frangat, cui cedat aquae. Discordia ponti 

Succurrit miseris, fluctusque evertere puppim 

Non valet in fluctum : victum latus unda repellens 

^ The sea : of. iv. 110. The reference is to Deucalion's flood. 


second kingdom,* when the Ocean swallowed up 
the human race and refused to endure any limits, 
content with no bound except the sky. Now once 
more the mighty mass of waters would have risen 
to the stars, had not the Ruler of the gods kept 
down the sea with clouds. The darkness was not 
the common darkness of night : the heavens were 
hidden and veiled with the dimness of the infernal 
regions, and weighed down by clouds ; and in the 
midst of the clouds the rain poured into the sea. 
Light, even dreadful light, died ; no bright lightnings 
darted, but the stormy sky gave dim flashes. 
Next, the dome of the gods quaked, the lofty sky 
thundered, and the heavens, with all their structure 
jarred, were troubled. Nature dreaded chaos : it 
seemed that the elements had burst their harmonious 
bonds, and that Night was returning, to blend the 
shades below with the gods above ; the one hope 
of safety for the gods is this — that in the universal 
catastrophe they have not yet been destroyed. 
Far as the eye looks down from the Leucadian peak 
upon calm sea, so high a precipice of water was seen 
by trembling mariners on the top of the billows ; 
and when once again the swollen waves open their 
jaws, the mast barely projects above the surface. 
The sails reach the clouds, the keel rests on the 
bottom. For the water, where it sinks down, does 
not cover the bottom : it all goes to form mounds 
and is used up in the waves. The danger was too 
great for the aid derived from skill : the steersman 
knows not when to face the current and when to 
evade it. The strife of the waters is helpful to the 
wretched sailors ; for one wave is powerless against 
another to upset the vessel ; when her side is struck, 



Erigit, atque omni surgit ratis ardua vento. 

Non humilem Sasona vadis, non litora curvae 660 

Thessaliae saxosa pavent oraeque malignos 

Ambraciae portus, scopulosa Ceraunia nautae 

Summa timent. Credit iam di^na pericula Caesar 

Fatis esse suis. " Quantusne evertere " dixit 

"Me superis labor est, parva quem puppe sedentem 656 

Tam magno petiere mari ? si gloria leti 

Est pelago donata mei bellisque negamur, 

Intrepidus, quamcumque datis milii, numina, mortem 

Accipiam. Licet ingentes abriiperit actus 

Festinata dies fatis, sat magna peregi. 660 

Arctoas domui gentes, inimica subegi 

Arma metu, vidit Magnum mihi Roma secundum, 

lussa plebe tuli fasces per bella negatos ; 

Nulla meis aberit titulis Romana potestas. 

Nee sciet hoc quisquam, nisi tu, quae sola meorum 665 

Conscia votorum es, me, quamvis plenus honorum 

Et dictator eam Stygias et consul ad umbras. 

Privatum, Fortuna, mori. Mihi funere nullo 

Est opus, o superi ; lacerum retinete cadaver 

Fluctibus in mediis, desint mihi busta rogusque, 670 

Dum metuar semper terraque expecter ab omni." 

Haec fatum decimus, dictu mirabile, fluctus 

Invalida cum puppe levat, nee rursus ab alto 

Aggere deiecit pelagi sed pertulit unda, 

Scruposisque angusta vacant ubi litora saxis, 676 

1 See n. to ii. 627. 

^ The meaning is, that Fortune alone would know Caesar's 
disappointment in dying uncrowned. 

' The ancients believed that every tenth wave was larger 
than the rest. Lowell has "The surge and thunder of the 



another sea beats her back and rights her, and 
she rises erect because all the winds blow at once. 
It is not the shoals of low-lying Sason^ that frighten 
the crews, nor yet the rocky shore of winding 
1 hessaly, nor the scanty harbours of the Ambracian 
coast, but rather the tops of the Ceraunian moun- 
tains. — Caesar considers at last that the danger is on 
a scale to match his destiny. " What trouble the 
gods take," he cried, ^Ho work my ruin, assailing 
me on my little boat with such a mighty storm ! If 
the glory of my death, denied to the battle-field, 
has been granted to the deep, I shall not shrink 
from meeting whatever end Heaven appoints for 
me. Although the date, hastened on by destiny, 
cuts short a great career, my achievements are 
sufficient : I have conquered the Northern peoples ; 
by fear alone I have quelled the Roman forces 
opposed to me ; Rome has seen me take precedence 
of Magnus ; by appeal to the people I won the 
consulship denied to me by force of arms ; no Roman 
office will be found missing from my record ; and 
none other than Fortune, who shares with me the 
secret of my ambition, shall ever know that, though 
I go down to the Stygian shades loaded with honours, 
dictator as well as consul, nevertheless I am dying a 
private citizen. ^ I ask no burial of the gods : let 
them leave my mutilated corpse amid the waves ; 
I can dispense with grave and funeral pyre, provided 
I am feared for ever and my apjiearance is dreaded 
by every land." As he spoke thus, a tenth wave^ — 
marvellous to tell — upbore him and his battered 
craft ; nor did the billow hurl him back again from 
the high watery crest but bore him onwards till 
it laid him on the land, where a narrow strip of 



Inposuit terrae. Pariter tot regna, tot urbes 
Fortunamque suam tacta tellure recepit. 

Sed non tam remeans Caesar iam luce propinqua 
Quam tacita sua castra fuga comitesque fefellit. 
Circumfusa duci flevit gemituque suorum 680 

Et non ingratis incessit turba querellis. 
"Quo te^ dure, tulit virtus temeraria, Caesar? 
Aut quae nos viles animas in fata relinquens 
Invitis spargenda dabas tua membra procellis ? 
Cum tot in bac anima populorum vita sal usque 685 

Pendeat et tantus caput hoc sibi fecerit orbis, 
Saevitia est voluisse mori. NuUusne tuorum 
Emeruit comitum fatis non posse superstes 
Esse tuis ? Cum te raperet mare, corpora segnis 
Nostra sopor tenuit. Pudet heu ! Tibi causa petendae 
Haec fuit Hesperiae, visum est quod mittere quemquam 
Tam saevo crudele mari. Sors ultima rerum 692 

In dubios casus et prona pericula morti 
Praecipitare solet : mundi iam summa tenentem 
Permisisse mari tantum ! quid numina lassas? 695 

Sufficit ad fatum belli favor iste laborque 
Fortunae, quod te nostris inpegit harenis ? 
Hine usus placuere deum, non rector ut orbis 
Nee dominus rerum, sed felix naufragus esses ? " 
Talia iactantes discussa nocte serenus 700 

* Not the shore of Italy, as one might gather from Lucan ; 
he was driven back by the storm and failed to cross the sea. 

* I.e. has saved you from drowning. 




shore was clear of jagged rocks. He touched the 
land ^ and recovered in one moment realms and cities 
innumerable and his own lucky star. 

But when Caesar returned next day to his army 
and his officers, they were not taken unawares by 
his return as they had been by his secret departure. 
Crowding round their leader, they shed tears and 
assailed him with lament and expostulations not 
unpleasing to his ear. ''Hardhearted Caesar, to 
what lengths your rash courage has carried you ! 
And at the mercy of what fate did you leave our 
worthless lives, when you gave your limbs to be 
torn in pieces by the reluctant winds? When the 
existence and safety of so many nations depend 
upon your single life, and so large a part of the 
world has chosen you for its head, it is cruel of you 
to court death. Did none of your comrades deserve 
the honour of being prevented from surviving your 
end? While the sea drove you along, our limbs 
were held by slothful sleep ; you put us to the blush. 
You made for Italy yourself, because you deemed it 
heartless to bid any other cross such a stormy sea. 
In general it is utter despair that hurls men into 
jeopardy and danger that runs straight to death ; 
but that you, who are now master of the world, 
should grant such licence to the sea ! Why do you 
overtask the goodwill of Heaven? Fortune has 
hurled you here upon the shore ;2 for the issue of the 
war, are you content with that instance of her favour 
and assistance ? Is this the use you prefer to make 
of Heaven, that you should be, not the ruler of the 
world or the master of mankind, but a shipwrecked 
wretch who escapes from drowning ? " As thus they 
argued, darkness was dispelled and clear daylight 



Oppressit cum sole dies, fessumque tumentes 
G)nposuit pelagus ventis patientibus undas. 

Nee noil Hesperii lassatum fluctibus aequor 
Ut videre duces, purumque insurgere caelo 
Fracturum pelagus Borean, solvere carinas ; 705 

Quas veiitus doctaeque pari moderamine dextrae 
Permixtas habuere diu, latumque per aequor, 
Ut terrestre, coit consertis puppibus agmen. 
Sed nox saeva modum venti velique tenorem 
Eripuit nautis excussitque ordine puppes. 710 

Strymona sic gelidum bruma pellente relinquunt 
Poturae te, Nile, grues, primoque volatu 
Effingunt varias casu monstrante figuras ; 
Mox, ubi percussit tensas Notus altior alas, 
Confusos temere inmixtae glomerantur in orbes, 715 
Et turbata perit dispersis littera pinnis. 
Cum primum redeunte die violentior aer 
Puppibus incubuit Phoebeo concitus ortu, 
Praetereunt frustra temptati litora Lissi 
Nymphaeumque tenent ; nudas Aquilonibus undas 720 
Succedens Boreae iam portum fecerat Auster. 

Undique conlatis in robur Caesaris armis 
Summa videns duri Magnus discrimina Martis 
lam castris instare suis seponere tutum 
Coniugii decrevit onus Lesboque remota 726 

Te procul a saevi strepitu, Cornelia, belli 
Occulere. Heu quantum mentes dominatur in aequas 

* Palamedes was said to have invented the alphabet by 
copying the figures formed by flocks of cranes in the sky. 



came upon them together with the sun ; and the 
weary sea, permitted by the winds, calmed its 
swollen billows. 

The commanders in Italy also, when they saw that 
the sea was weary of waves, and that a clear North 
wind, rising in the sky, would soon break the force 
of the waters, cast loose their ships ; and these were 
long kept close together by the wind and by skilled 
hands all steering the same course : like soldiers 
marching on land, the fleet sailed together over 
the broad sea, vessel keeping close to vessel. But 
night, proving unkind, robbed the sailors of steady 
wind, stopped the even progress of the sails, and 
threw the ships out of station. Thus, when cranes 
are driven by winter from the frozen Strymon to 
drink the water of the Nile, at the beginning of 
their flight they describe various chance-taught 
figures ; but later, when a loftier wind beats on their 
outspread wings, they combine at random and form 
disordered packs, until the letter^ is broken and 
disappears as the birds are scattered. As soon as 
day returned, and the brisker air roused by the 
dawn bore down on the ships, after trying in vain to 
land at Lissus, they sailed past to reach Nymphaeum, 
where the sea, unprotected on the North, had been 
turned into a harbour by the shift of wind from 
North to South. 

When Caesar's forces were collected from every 
quarter to full strength, Magnus saw that his army 
must soon face the supreme crisis of stern war, and 
therefore decided to place in safety his wife, a 
precious charge, and to hide Cornelia in the retire- 
ment of Lesbos, far from the tumult of cruel 
warfare. Ah ! how mighty is the power of wedded 



lusta Venus ! dubium trepidumque ad proelia, Magne, 

Te quoque fecit amor ; quod nolles stare sub ictu 

Fortunae, quo mundus erat Romanaque fata, 730 

Coniunx sola fuit. Mentem iam verba paratam 

Destituunt, blandaeque iuvat ventura trahentem 

Indulgere morae et tempus subducere fatis. 

Nocte sub extrema pulso torpore quietis, 

Dum fovet amplexu gravidum Cornelia curls 735 

Pectus et aversi petit oscula grata mariti, 

Umentes mirata genas percussaque caeco 

Volnere non audet flentem deprendere Magnum. 

Ille gemens " Non nunc vita mihi dulcior," inquit, 

" Cum taedet vitae, laeto sed tempore, coniunx, 740 

Venit maesta dies et quam nimiumque parumque 

Distulimus ; iam totus adest in proelia Caesar. 

Cedendum est bellis ; quorum tibi tuta latebra 

Lesbos erit. Desiste preces temptare, negavi 

Iam mihi. Non longos a me patiere recessus ; 746 

Praecipites aderunt casus ; properante ruina 

Summa cadunt. Satis est audisse pericula Magni : 

Meque tuus decepit amor, civilia bella 

Si spectare potes. Nam me iam Marte parato 

Securos cepisse pudet cum coniuge somnos, 750 

Eque tuo, quatiunt miserum cum classica mundum, 

Surrexisse sinu. Vereor civilibus armis 

Pompeium nullo tristem committere damno. 

Tutior interea populis et tutior omni 

Rege late, positamque procul fortuna mariti 765 

^ He must propitiate ill-will by gome personal sacrifice. 



love over gentle hearts ! Even Magnus was made 
anxious and afraid of battle by his love ; one thing 
alone he wished to save from the stroke that over- 
hung the world and the destiny of Rome ; and that 
one thing was his wife. Though his mind was made 
up already, words failed him : he preferred to post- 
pone what must come, to yield to the allurements of 
delay, and to steal a reprieve from destiny. Night 
was ending and the drowsiness of sleep was banished, 
when Cornelia clasped in her arms the care-laden 
breast of her husband and sought the dear lips of 
him who turned from her; wondering at his wet 
cheeks and smitten by a trouble she could not 
understand, she was abashed to discover Magnus in 
tears. Sighing, he said : " O my wife, dearer to me 
than life when life was sweet, not now when I am 
weary of it, the sad day which we have put off at 
once too long and not long enough has come at last : 
Caesar with all his forces is upon us now ; war 
cannot be resisted, but Lesbos will hide you safe 
from war. Cease to urge me with entreaty ; I have 
already said 'no' to myself. You will not long 
suffer separation from me : the decisive event will 
come speedily ; the mightiest fall with rapid over- 
throw. It is enough for you to know by report the 
dangers that Magnus incurs ; and you love me less 
than I imagined, if you can bear to look on at civil 
war. As for me, now that battle is at hand, I am 
ashamed to enjoy peaceful sleep at my wife's side, 
and to rise from her embrace when the war-note 
rouses the suffering world. I fear to trust myself to 
civil war, unless I am suddenetl by a loss of my 
own.^ You meanwhile must lie hidden, safer than 
any nation or any king ; and if you are far away, the 



Non tota te mole premat. Si numina nostras 
Inpulerint acies, maneat pars optima Magni, 
Sitque mihi, si fata prement victorque cruentus. 
Quo fugisse velim." Vix tantum infirma dolorera 
Cepit, et attonito cesserunt pectore sensus. 
Tandem vox maestas potuit proferre querellas : 
" Nil mihi de fatis thalami superisque relictum est, 
Magne, queri : nostros non rumpit funus amores 
Nee diri fax summa rogi, sed sorte frequent! 
Plebeiaque nimis careo dimissa marito. 
Hostis ad adventum rumpamus foedera taedae, 
Placemus socerum ! Sic est tibi cognita^ Magne, 
Nostra fides ? credisne aliquid mihi tutius esse 
Quam tibi ? non olim casu pendemus ab uno ? 
Fulminibus me, saeve, iubes tantaeque ruinae 
Absentem praestare caput ? secura videtur 
Sors tibi, cum facias etiamnunc vota, perisse ? 
Ut nolim servire malis sed morte parata 
Te sequar ad manes, feriat dum maesta remotas 
Fama procul terras, vivam tibi nempe superstes. 
Adde, quod adsuescis fatis tantumque dolorem, 
Crudelis, me ferre doces. Ignosce fatenti, 
Posse pati timeo. Quod si sunt vota, deisque 
Audior, eventus rerum sciet ultima coniunx. 
Sollicitam rupes iam te victore tenebuut. 

^ By separation from her h us Laud. 


destiny of your husband need not crush you with 
its full weight. If Heaven hurls my armies to 
destruction, let the best part of me survive, and let 
me have a welcome hiding-place from the pursuit of 
Fortune and the conqueror's cruelty." Scarce could 
she in her weakness sustain so great a sorrow ; her 
senses fled from her stricken breast. At last she 
was able to utter her sad remonstrances: "No 
power is left me, Magnus, to complain of our destiny 
in marriage or of the gods. For it is not death that 
divorces us, nor the final brand of the awful funeral 
pyre ; no, by a lot all too common and familiar, 1 
lose my husband, because he sends me from him. 
Because the enemy draws near, let us dissolve our 
marriage-bond and so appease the father of your 
former wife ! Is this the opinion you have formed of 
my troth, Magnus? Do you believe that my safety 
can be different from your safety ? Have we not for 
long been dependent upon the same hazard .f* Are 
you so cruel as to bid me, apart from you, expose 
my head to the thunder and the downfall of the 
world ? Do you think it is an easy lot for me to have 
already perished/ while you are still praying for suc- 
cess ? Suppose I refuse to be mastered by misfortune, 
and follow you to the nether world by a prompt death ; 
yet, luitil the sad news falls on regions far away, I shall 
surely live on after you are dead. Besides, you are 
cruel in habituating me to my fate, and teaching me 
to bear so great a sorrow. Forgive the confession — 
but I fear that I may find life endurable. But if 
prayers avail and the gods hear mine, then your 
wife will be the last to learn the issue of events. 
After your victory, I shall haunt the cliffs of Lesbos 
in my anxiety; and I shall dread the ship that 



Et puppem, quae fata feret tam laeta, timebo. 

Nee solvent audita metus mihi prospera belli. 

Cum vacuis proiecta locis a Caesare possim 

Vel fugiente capi. Notescent litora clari 

Nominis exilio^ positaque ibi coniuge Magni 786 

Quis Mytilenaeas poterit nescire latebras ? 

Hoc precor extremum : si nil tibi victa relinquent 

Tutius arma fuga^ cum te commiseris undis, 

Quolibet infaustam potius deflecte carinara ; 

Litoribus quaerere meis." Sic fata relictis 790 

Exiluit stratis amens tormentaque nulla 

Vult differre mora. Non maesti pectora Magni 

Sustinet amplexu dulci, non colla tenere, 

Extremusque perit tam longi fructus amoris, 

Praecipitantque suos luctus^ neuterque recedens 795 

Sustinuit dixisse " vale " ; vitamque per omnem 

Nulla fuit tam maesta dies ; nam cetera damna 

Durata iam mente malis firmaque tulerunt. 

Labitur infelix manibusque excepta suorum 
Fertur ad aequoreas, ac se prosternit, harenas, 800 

Litoraque ipsa tenet, tandemque inlata carinae est. 
Non sic infelix patriam portusque reliquit 
Hesperios, saevi premerent cum Caesaris arma. 
Fida comes Magni vadit duce sola relicto 
Pompeiumque fiigit. Quae nox tibi proxima venit, 806 
Insomnis ; viduo tum primum frigida lecto 
Atque insueta quies uni, nudumque marito 




brings such news of battle won. The report of 
victory will not allay my fears, because in the 
deserted places whither I am cast out I may be 
taken prisoner by Caesar, even when he is a fugitive. 
Tlie exile of one who bears a famous name will 
throw a light upon the shore of Lesbos; and who 
can remain ignorant of the asylum of Mitylene, when 
it harbours the wife of Magnus? This is my last 
prayer : if defeat makes flight your safest course and 
you entrust yourself to the sea, steer your ill-starred 
bark to any land but Lesbos ; where I am, the 
foe will seek you." Having thus spoken, she 
sprang forth from the bed in frenzy, refusing to put 
off her agony for a moment. She cannot bear to 
clasp in her dear arms the breast or head of her 
sorrowing husband, and the last chance of enjoying 
their long and faithful love was thrown away. They 
hurry their grief to an end, and neither had the 
iieart to say a parting farewell. Of their whole lives 
this was the saddest day. For all the losses that 
were to follow were borne with hearts already 
strengthened and steeled by misfortune. 

The hapless lady swooned and fell, but was caught 
in the arms of her attendants and carried towards 
the sea-sands. Tliere she fell down and clutched 
the very strand, till at last she was borne on ship- 
board. She had suffered less when she left her 
native land and the harbours of Italy, hard pressed 
by the armies of cruel Caesar. Once the faithful 
companion of Magnus, now she departs without him, 
leaving him behind in her flight. The next night 
she spent brought her no sleep : her bed was 
widowed for the first time ; its coldness and silence 
were strange to her in her solitude ; and her side 



Non haerente latus. Somno quam saepe gravata 
Deceptis vacuum manibus conplexa cubile est 
Atque oblita fugae quaesivit nocte maritum ! 810 

Nam quamvis flamma tacitas urente medullas 
Non iuvat in toto corpus iactare cubili : 
Servatur pars ilia tori. Caruisse timebat 
Pompeio ; sed non superi tarn laeta parabant : 
Instabat miserae, Magnum quae redderet, liora. 816 



was unprotected, with no husband near her. How 
often, weighed down by drowsiness, she clasped the 
empty couch with cheated arms ! How often, 
forgetful of her flight, she sought her husband in the 
darkness ! For, though her secret heart burned with 
love's fire, she would not toss her limbs over all the 
bed, but abstained from touching his side of it. She 
feared that she had lost Pompey for ever ; but 
Heaven intended a worse fate than that. The hour 
was soon coming that was to restore Magnus to his 
unhappy wife. 






PosTQUAM castra duces pugnae iam mente propinquis 

Inposuere iugis admotaque comminus arma, 

Parque suum videre dei, capere omnia Caesar 

Moenia Graiorum spernit Martemque secundum 

lam nisi de genero fatis debere recusat. 6 

Funestam mundo votis petit omnibus horam, 

In casum quae cuncta ferat ; placet alea fati 

Alterutrum mersura caput. Ter collibus omnes 

Explicuit turmas et signa minantia pugnam 

Testatus numquam Latiae se desse ruinae. 10 

Ut videt ad nullos exciri posse tumultus 

In pugnam generum sed clauso fidere vallo, 

Signa mo vet tectusque via dumosa per arva 

Dyrrachii praeceps rapiendas tendit ad arces. 

Hoc iter aequoreo piaecepit limite Magnus, 16 

Quemque vocat collem Taulantius incola Petram, 

Insedit castris Ephyreaque moenia servat 

Defendens tutam vel solis rupibus ^ urbem. 

Non opus banc veterum nee moles structa tuetiir 

Humanusque labor facilis, licet ardua tollat, 20 

Cedere vel bellis vel cuncta moventibus annis, 

Sed munimen habet nullo quassabile ferro 

Naturam sedemque loci ; nam clausa profundo 

1 rupibus Dorville : turribus M88. 

^ Ephyra is the ancient name of Corinth. Dyrrachium (also 
called Epidanmus) was a Corinthian colony. 


Thus the leaders, with minds now made up for 
battle, had pitched their camps on neighbouring 
heights, the armies were brought face to face, and 
the gods saw their pair of combatants before them ; 
and Caesar, too proud to take city after city of the 
Greeks, refused to accept from fate any further 
victory except over his kinsman. All his prayers 
were for that hour, fatal to the worlds that should 
stake all on a cast of the die ; he chose the hazard 
of destiny that must destroy one head or the other. 
Thrice he deployed upo2i the hills all his squadrons 
and warlike standards, and proved that he was 
never backward in the overthrow of Rome. But 
when he saw that Pompey, trusting to his ring of 
entrenchments, could not be drawn forth to battle 
by any demonstrations, he struck his camp and 
marched in haste to seize the fortress of Dyrrachium 
through a wooded country that concealed his 
movements. Pompey forestalled this march by 
following the coast-line ; encamping on the hill 
which the Taulantians call Petra, he protected the 
Corinthian city ^ — a city which its cliffs alone keep 
safe. No work of ancient times protects it, nor 
masonry piled by men's hands, which, though it 
raise its structures high, falls an easy prey to the 
besieger or all-destroying time ; its natural position 
is a protection that no engine can shatter. On all 




Undique praecipiti scopulisque vomentibus aequoT 
Exiguo debet, quod non est insula, colli. 25 

Terribiles ratibus sustentant moenia cautes, 
loniumque furens, rabido cum tollitur Austro, 
Templa domosque quatit, spumatque in culmina pontus. 

Hie avidam belli rapuit spes inproba mentem 
Caesaris, ut vastis diffusum collibus hostem 30 

Cingeret ignarum ducto procul aggere valli. 
Metatur terras oculis, nee caespite tantum 
Contentus fragili subitos attollere muros 
Ingentes cautes avolsaque saxa metallis 
Graiorumque domos direptaque moenia transfert. 35 
Extruitur, quod non aries inpellere saevus. 
Quod non ulla queat violenti machina belli. 
Franguntur montes, planumque per ardua Caesar 
Ducit opus : pandit fossas turritaque summis 
Disponit castella iugis magnoque recessu 40 

Amplexus fines saltus nemorosaque tesqua 
Et silvas vastaque feras indagine claudit. 
Non desunt campi, non desunt pabula Magno, 
Castraque Caesareo circumdatus aggere mutat : 
Flumina tot cursus illic exorta fatigant, 46 

Illic mersa suos ; operumque ut summa revisat, 
Defessus Caesar mediis intermanet agris. 

Nunc vetus Iliacos attollat fabula muros 
Ascribatque deis ; fragili circumdata testa 
Moenia mirentur refugi Babylonia Parthi. 60 

* The distances were so great that direct measurement of 
the ground was not practicable. 



sides it is surrounded by sea deep up to the sliore, 
and by cliffs that spout forth the sea- water; and 
only a hill of moderate size prevents it from being 
an island. Precipices dreaded by ships support its 
walls ; and the raging Ionian sea, when lifted up by 
Southern gales, shakes its temples and houses, and 
hurls the spray to its highest roofs. 

Here Caesar's mind, eager for war, was caught by 
an extravagant design : though the enemy's forces 
were scattered over a wide extent of hills, he planned 
to draw a distant line of entrenchments and surround 
them without their knowing it. He used his eyes ^ 
to survey the ground ; and, not content merely to 
rear hasty walls of crumbling turf, he carries for his 
use huge boulders and blocks torn from the quarries, 
whole houses of the natives and dismantled city- 
walls. A structure rose, that no fierce battering-ram 
nor any engine of forceful war could overthrow. The 
mountains were broken through, and Caesar carried 
his works of even height across the hills ; he opens 
up trenches and builds turreted forts at intervals on 
the tops of ridges ; with a wide concave line he 
takes in territories and upland lawns, wooded wastes 
and forests, and encloses the wild animals with far- 
flung snare. Magnus had plains and fodder in 
abundance, and shifted his camp within the circle of 
Caesar's lines ; within that space many rivers take 
their rise and run their restless course down to the 
sea ; and, when Caesar wishes to inspect his most 
distant works, he rests a while from his weariness 
when half-way round. 

After this, let ancient legend praise the walls of 
Troy and ascribe the building to the gods ; let 
Parthians, who fight retreating, marvel at the brick 



En quantum Tigris, quantum celer ambit Orontes, 

Assyriis quantum populis telluris Eoae 

Sufficit in regnum, subitum bellique tumultu 

Raptum clausit opus. Tanti periere labores. 

Tot potuere manus aut iungere Seston Abydo 66 

Ingestoque solo Phrixeum elidere pontum, 

Aut Pelopis latis Ephyren abrumpere regnis 

Et ratibus longae flexus donare Maleae, 

Aut aliquem mundi, quamvis natura negasset. 

In melius mutare locum. Coit area belli : 60 

Hie alitur sanguis terras fluxurus in omnes. 

Hie et Thessalicae clades Libycaeque tenentur ; 

Aestuat angusta rabies civilis harena. 

Prima quidem surgens operum structura fefellit 
Pompeium, veluti mediae qui tutus in arvis C5 

Sicaniae rabidum nescit latrare Pelorum, 
Aut, vaga cum Tethys Rutupinaque litora fervent, 
Unda Caledonios fallit turbata Britannos. 
Ut primum vasto saeptas videt aggere terras, 
Ipse quoque a tuta deducens agmina Petra 70 

Diversis spargit tumulis, ut Caesaris arma 
Laxet et effuso claudentem milite tendat ; 
Ac tantum saepti vallo sibi vindicat agri, 
Parva Mycenaeae quantum sacrata Dianae 
Distat ab excelsa nemoralis Aricia Roma, 75 

^ See n. to i. 10. 

* The meaning is that the space enclosed by Caesar's lines is 
equal to the area of Mesopotamia or Syria. 

^ I.e. it might have been better spent. * The Hellespont. 

* The battles of Pharsalia and Thapsus are meant. 

* I.e. the dogs of Scylla: cf. i. 548. 



walls round Babylon.^ Behold ! a space as great as 
is surrounded by the Tigris or swift Orontes ^ — a 
s})ace large enough to form a kingdom for the 
Assyrian nations of the East — is here enclosed by 
works hastily thrown up in the stress of war. But 
all that labour was wasted.^ Such an army of busy 
hands might have joined Sestos to Abydos, piling up 
soil till the sea of Phrixus * was forced from its place ; 
they might have torn Corinth loose from the wide 
realm of Pelops, so as to save ships from the long 
circuit of Cape Malea ; or they might, in defiance of 
Nature, have changed for the better some other 
region of earth. The field of war was now con- 
tracted ; here is preserved the blood that will flow 
hereafter over every land ; here the victims of 
Thessaly and the victims of Africa ^ are penned up ; 
the madness of civil war seethes within narrow 

The construction of these works passed unnoticed 
by Pompey when first they rose : so he who dwells 
safe in the centre of Sicily knows not that the mad 
dogs of Pelorus ® are barking ; or when the tides of 
Ocean and the Rutupian shore are raging, the stormy 
waves are not heard by the Britons of the North. 
But as soon as he saw that his position was shut in 
by a wide entrenchment, he too led down his forces 
from the protection of Petra and scattered them 
upon different heights, hoping to relax the pressure 
of Caesar's army, and to put a strain upon him, as he 
carried on the blockade with scattered troops. For 
himself he claims a space surrounded by a palisade 
— a space equal to the distance that divides lofty 
Rome from little Aricia with its grove, sacred to 
Diana of Mycenae ; and in the same distance Tiber 



Quoque modo terrae praelapsus moenia Thybris 

In mare descendit, si nusquam torqueat amnem. 

Classica nulla sonant iniussaque tela vagantur, 

Et fit saepe nefas iaculum temptante lacerto. 

Maior cura duces miscendis abstrahit armis : 80 

Pompeium exhaustae praebenda ad gramina terrae. 

Quae currens obtrivit eques, gradibusque citatis 

Ungula frondentem discussit cornea campum. 

Belliger attonsis sonipes defessus in arvis, 

Advectos cum plena ferant praesepia culmos, 85 

Ore novas poscens moribundus labitur herbas 

Et tremulo medios abrumpit poplite gyros. 

Corpora dum solvit tabes et digerit artus, 

Traxit iners caelum fluvidae contagia pestis 

Obscuram in nubem. Tali spiramine Nesis 90 

Emittit Stygium nebulosis aera saxis, 

Antraque letiferi rabiem Typhonis anhelant, 

Inde labant populi, caeloque paratior unda 

Omne pati virus duravit viscera caeno. 

lam riget arta cutis distentaque lumina rumpit, 95 

Igneaque in voltus et sacro fervida morbo 

Pestis abit, fessumque caput se ferre recusat. 

lam magis atque magis praeceps agit omnia fatum. 

Nee medii dirimunt morbi vitamque necemque, 

Sed languor cum morte venit ; turbaque cadentum 100 

Aucta lues, dum mixta iacent incondita vivis 

Corpora ; nam miseros ultra tentoria cives 

Spargere funus erat. Tamen hos minuere labores 

^ A strangely indirect way of saying that Pompey's lines 
were about 15 miles long. 

* Now Nisida, a small island in the Bay of Naples, which 
was ouce volcanic. 

^ The eruptions of this and other volcanoes were attributed 
to the struggles of a Giant imprisoned under the mountain. 



that flows by the walls of Rome would reach the sea, 
if the stream made no bend at any point.^ No war- 
note sounds ; missiles fly to and fro unbidden, and 
many a murder is done when the arm is merely 
testing the javelin. A more pressing anxiety 
restrains the leaders from joining battle. Pompey 
was prevented by the failure of the district to 
provide fodder : the horsemen in their speed had 
trodden it down, when the horny hoofs galloped over 
the grassy plain and tore it up. The war-horse 
flagged on the close-cropped fields ; and though the 
well-fille4 mangers offered him imported hay, he 
neighed for fresh grass as he fell down to die, and 
stopped short with quivering haunches in the act 
of wheeling. While their bodies rotted away and 
parted limb from limb, the stagnant air drew up the 
infection of that putrefying plague into a murky cloud. 
With such an exhalation Nesis ^ sends forth a deathly 
atmosphere from her misty rocks, while the caverns 
of Typhon ^ breathe forth death and madness. The 
men were stricken next ; and the water, ever readier 
than air to absorb poison, made hard their inward 
parts with its foulness. Now the skin grew tight 
and hard, causing the straining eyes to start out, and 
the fiery plague, inflamed with erysipelas, moved to 
the face ; and the heavy head refused to carry its 
own weight. Swift death, ever more and more, 
swept all away ; no interval of sickness divided death 
from life, but death kept pace with the ailment ; and 
the pestilence was made worse by the crowd of 
victims, because unburied bodies lay in contact with 
the living. For to cast out the corpses of their 
hapless countrymen beyond the circle of tents was 
all the burial that men gave. Nevertheless, these 



A tergo pelagus pulsusque Aquilonibus aer 

Litoraque et plenae peregrina messe carinae. 105 

At liber terrae spatiosis collibus hostis 

Aere non pigro nee inertibus angitur undis, 

Sed patitur saevam, veluti circumdatus arta 

Obsidione, famem. Nondum turgentibiis altam 

In segetem culmis cernit iniserabile volgus 110 

In pecudum cecidisse cibos et carpere dumos 

Et foliis spoliare nemus letumque minantes 

Vellere ab ignotis dubias radicibus herbas. 

Quae mollire queunt flamma, quae frangere raorsu, 

Quaeque per abrasas utero demittere fauces, 115 

Plurimaque humanis ante hoc incognita mensis 

Diripiens miles saturum tamen obsidet hostem, 

Ut primum libuit ruptis evadere claustris 
Pompeio cunctasque sibi permittere terras, 
Non obscura petit latebrosae tempora noctis, 120 

Et raptum furto soceri cessantibus armis 
Dedignatur iter : latis exire minis 
Quaerit, et inpulso turres confringere vallo, 
Perque omnes gladios et qua via caede paranda est. 
Opportuna tamen valli pars visa propinqui, 125 

Qua Minici castella vacant, et confraga densis 
Arboribus dumeta tegunt. Hue pulvere nullo 
Proditus agmen agit subitusque in moenia venit. 
Tot simul e campis Latiae fulsere volucres. 
Tot cecinere tubae. Ne quid victoria ferro 130 

1 He proceeds to explain why Caesar also was unable to fight 
a battle. 

* The origin of the name is unknown. 


calamities were lessened by the sea at their backs 
and the air set in motion by the North wind, by the 
shore and the ships laden with foreign corn. Caesar's 
army,^ on the other hand, encamped on spacious 
heights and free to range the earth, was not troubled 
by stifling air or stagnant waters ; but they suffered 
from the pinch of hunger like men closely be- 
sieged. The corn-blades were not yet swelling to 
the height of harvest ; and therefore Caesar saw his 
wretched men lying on the ground to eat the food 
of beasts, plucking the bushes, rifling the trees of 
their leaves, and culling from strange roots suspicious 
plants that threatened death. The men fought for 
food — whatever they could soften with fire, or break 
with their teeth, or swallow down with rasped gullets, 
and many things never tried before for human 
consumption ; and yet they went on besieging a 
well-fed foe. 

When Pompey first saw fit to burst his barriers and 
sally forth, and to allow himself the range of all the 
earth, he did not seek the darkness and cover of 
night, but scorned to steal a march while Caesar's 
army rested. He desired to pass out through a wide 
breach, overthrowing the ramparts and breaking 
down the towers ; to face every armed foe and take 
a path that bloodshed must open up. Yet a section 
of the rampart that lay near seemed to suit his 
purpose ; here the fortress of Minicius 2 afforded an 
open space, and the broken wooded ground screened 
him with a covering of trees. Hither he marched 
his men ; no cloud of dust betrayed him and he 
reached the wall unexpected. Then all at once the 
Roman eagles glittered from the plain, and his 
trumpets all sounded. That his victory might owe 



Deberet, pavor attonitos confecerat hostes. 

Quod solum valuit virtus, iacuere perempti 

Debuerant quo stare loco. Qui volnera ferrent, 

lam deraiit, et nimbus agens tot tela peribat. 

Turn piceos volvunt inmissae lampades ignes, 135 

Turn quassae nutant turres lapsumque minantur. 

Roboris inpacti crebros gemit agger ad ictus. 

lam Pompeianae celsi super ardua valli 

Exierant aquilae, iam mundi iura patebant : 

Quern non mille simul turmis nee Caesare toto 140 

Auferret Fortuna locum, victoribus unus 

Eripuit vetuitque capi, seque arma tenente 

Ac nondum strato Magnum vicisse negavit. 

Scaeva viro nomen : castrorum in plebe merebat 

Ante feras Rhodani gentes ; ibi sanguine multo 145 

Promotus Latiam longo gerit ordine vitem, 

Pronus ad omne nefas et qui nesciret, in armis 

Quam magnum virtus crimen civilibus esset. 

Hie ubi quaerentes socios iam Marte relicto 

Tuta fugae cernit, "Quo vos pavor," inquit " adegit 150 

Inpius et cunctis ignotus Caesaris armis ? 

Terga datis morti ? cumulo vos desse virorum 

Non pudet et bustis interque cadavera quaeri ? 

Non ira saltem, iuvenes, pietate remota 156 

Stabitis .'' E cunctis, per quos erumperet hostis, 

Nos sumus electi. Non parvo sanguine Magni 

Iste dies ierit. Peterem felicior umbras 

*■ The darts themselves form the tempest. 
• I.e. before the war in Gaul. 

' This seems inooiisistent with the statement of 11. 132 f. 
that all the defenders of this post had been killed. 


nothing to the sword, the alarm and surprise had 
already disposed of the enemy. All that valour 
could do they did : they lay dead at the post where 
duty bade them stand. There were no longer any 
men to be wounded, and the tempest ^ that bore 
those many darts was wasted. Then torches were 
hurled, rolling smoky fires ; then the battered towers 
reeled and threatened to fall ; and the mound 
echoed under the repeated blows of the timber 
hurled against it. Now Pompey's eagles had passed 
out over the top of the high rampart ; now the 
freedom of the whole world was before them. But 
though Fortune with a thousand squadrons combined 
and all Caesar's might could not make good the post, 
one man snatched it from the conquerors and forbade 
its capture : " While I still wield my weapons and 
have not yet been laid low, Magnus has not yet 
been victorious," he cried. Scaeva was his name ; 
he served in the ranks before the fierce tribes of the 
Rhone were heard of;^ there he got promotion by 
shedding much of his blood and carried the Roman 
vine-staff in the long line of centurions. Ready for 
any wickedness, he knew not that valour in civil war 
is a heinous crime. When he saw his comrades' 
drop their arms and seek safety in flight, *' Whither," 
he cried, " has fear driven you — disloyal fear that no 
soldier of Caesar's has ever felt ? Do you turn your 
backs on death ? Are you not ashamed that you are 
not added to the heap of gallant dead, and that you are 
missing among the corpses ? If duty be disregarded, 
will not rage at least make you stand your ground, 
ye soldiers ? The enemy has chosen us out of all 
the army to sally forth through our ranks. This 
day shall cost Magnus not a little blood. I should 



Caesaris in voltu : testem hunc fortuna negavit : 
Pompeio laudante cadam. Confringite tela 160 

Pectoris inpulsu iugulisque retundite ferrum. 
lam longinqiia petit pulvis soiiitusque ruinae, 
Securasque fragor concussit Caesaris aures. 
Vineimus, o socii : veniet, qui vindicet arces, 
Dum morimur." Movit tantum vox ilia furorem, 165 
Quantum non primo succendunt classica cantu, 
Mirantesque virum atque avidi spectare secuntur 
Scituri iuveneSj numero deprensa locoque 
An plus quam mortem virtus daret. Ille ruenti 
Aggere consistit, primumque cadavera plenis 170 

Turribus evolvit subeuntesque obruit hostes 
Corporibus ; totaeque viro dant tela ruinae, 
Roboraque et moles hosti seque ipse minatur. 
Nunc sude, nunc duro contraria pectora conto 
Detrudit muris, et valli summa tenentes 175 

Amputat ense manus ; caput obterit ossaque saxo 
Ac male defensum fragili conpage cerebrum 
Dissipat ; alterius flamma crinesque genasque 
Succendit ; strident oculis ardentibus ignes. 

Ut primum cumulo crescente cadavera murum 180 
Admovere solo, non segnior extulit ilium 
Saltus et in medias iecit super arma catervas, 
Quam per summa rapit celerem venabula pardum. 
Tunc densos inter cuneos conpressus et omni 
Vallatus bello vincit, quem respicit, hostem. 185 

* I.e. victory. ^ The skull. 

* He is now surrounded by enemiea. 



die happier with Caesar watching; as chance has 
denied me his presence, Pompey shall praise me as I 
fall. Dash your breasts against their weapons till 
you break them ; blunt the edge of their steel with 
your life-blood. Already the dust and noise of 
destruction are rolling far away, and the ear of 
Caesar, fearing no danger, has been smitten by the 
crashing sound. We are conquerors, my comrades : 
while we are dying, he will come to assert his right 
to the stronghold." His words roused greater fury 
than the war-note kindles with its first blast : 
marvelling at Scaeva and eager to watch him, the 
soldiers follow, to find out whether valour, out- 
numbered and entrapped, could give them aught 
more than death. ^ Taking his stand on the tottering 
mound, Scaeva first rolled out the corpses that filled the 
towers, and buried the assailants under dead bodies. 
All the falling fabric supplies him with weapons : he 
threatens the foe with wooden beams, blocks of 
stone, and his own body. Now with stakes, now 
with tough poles, he dislodges from the wall the 
breasts of the adversaries ; his sword cuts off the 
hands that clutch the battlements ; with a stone he 
crushes one man's head and skull, scattering the 
brains ill protected by their brittle covering : ^ he 
sets fire to the hair and beard of another, and 
the flames crackle as the eyes burn. 

The heap of dead rose till it made the ground 
level with the wall ; at once he sprang off and 
hurled himself over their weapons into the centre 
of the foe, swift as a leopard springs over the points 
of the spears. Then wedged tight among the ranks 
and encompassed by a whole army, he slays a man 
whom he looks behind* to see. No longer can his 


lamque hebes et crasso non asper sanguine mucro 

Perdidit ensis opus, frangit sine volnere membra. 188 

Ilium tota premit moles, ilium omnia tela : 

Nulla fuit non certa manus, non lancea felix, 190 

Parque novum Fortuna videt concurrere, bellnm 

Atque virum. Fortis crebris sonat ictibus umbo, 

Et galeae fragmenta cavae conpressa perurunt 

Tempora, nee quidquam nudis vitalibus obstat 

lam praeter stantes in summis ossibus hastas. 196 

Quid nunc, vaesani, iaculis levibusve sagittis 
Perditis haesuros numquam vitalibus ictus ? 
Hunc aut tortilibus vibrata falarica nervis 
Obruat aut vasti muralia pondera saxi ; 
Hunc aries ferro ballistaque limine portae 200 

Promoveat. Stat non fragilis pro Caesare murus 
Pompeiumque tenet. lam pectora non tegit ariiiis, 
Ac veritus credi clipeo laevaque vacasse 
Aut culpa vixisse sua, tot volnera belli 
Solus obit densamque ferens in pectore silvam 206 

lam gradibus fessis, in quem cadat, eligit hostem. 
Sic Libycus densis elephans oppressus ab armis 
Omne repercussum squalenti missile tergo 
Frangit et haerentes mota cute discutit hastas ; 
Viscera tuta latent penitus, citraque cruorem 210 

Confixae stant tela ferae : tot facta sagittis. 
Tot iaculis, unam non explent volnera mortem. 
Dictaea procul ecce manu Gortynis harundo 
Tenditur in Scaevam, quae voto certior omni 216 

1 Cretan: Gortyn was a city of Crete. 



sword-point do the duty of a sword : dulled and 
blunted by coagulated blood, it bruises but cannot 
wound. AH the host and all the weapons make him 
their sole object; no hand missed its aim, no lance 
failed of its mark; and Fortune sees a new pair 
meet in combat — a man against an army. The stout 
boss of his shield rings with repeated blows; his 
hollow helmet, battered to pieces, galls the forehead 
which it covers; and nothing any longer protects 
his exposed vitals except the spears which stick fast 
when they reach his bones. 

Fools ! why waste your shots of light javelins and 
arrows? They can never reach the seat of life. To 
crush him, you must use either a missile sped by 
twisted cords, or the wall-battering weight of a 
huge boulder; to drive him from the threshold of 
the gate, an iron battering-ram and a catapult are 
needed. He stands fast, a stone wall in defence of 
Caesar, and keeps Pompey at bay. He ceases to 
guard his breast with his armour ; and fearing to 
have it thought that his left hand and shield are 
idle, or that he is to blame for surviving, he meets 
single-handed all the wounds of war and carries in 
his breast a thick forest of spears, and chooses, with 
gait grown weary, an enemy to crush in his fall. So 
the African elephant, when attacked by a throng of 
assailants, breaks all their missiles rebounding from 
his horny hide, and twitches his skin to dislodge the 
spears sticking in his body ; his vital parts are safe 
and hidden far below, and the weapons that pierce 
him and stick fast draw no blood from the animal ; 
the wounds of countless arrows and countless javelins 
are too few to end one life. But see ! a Gortynian ^ 
shaft, aimed from a distance at Scaeva by a Cretan 


In caput atque oculi laevom descendit in orbera. 

Ille moras ferri nervorum et vincula rumpit 

Adfixam vellens oculo pendente sagittam 

Intrepidus, telumque suo cum lumine calcat. 

Pannonis baud aliter post ictum saevior ursa, 220 

Cum iacuhim parva Libys ammentavit habena, 

Se rotat in volnus telumque irata receptum 

Inpetit et secum fugientem circumit hastam. 

Perdiderat voltum rabies, stetit imbre cruento 

Informis facies. Laetus fragor aethera pulsat 225 

Victorum ; maiora viris e sanguine parvo 

Gaudia non faceret conspectum in Caesare volnus. 

Ille tegens alta suppressum mente furorem 

Mitis et a voltu penitus virtute remota, 

" Parcite," ait "cives ; procul hinc avertite ferrum. 2S0 

Conlatura meae nil sunt iam volnera morti : 

Non eget ingestis sed volsis pectore telis. 

Tollite et in Magni viventem ponite castris ; 

Hoc vestro praestate duci ; sit Scaeva relicti 

Caesaris exemplum potius quam mortis honestae." 235 

Credidit infelix simulatis vocibus Aulus 

Nee vidit recto gladium mucrone tenentem, 

Membraque captivi pariter laturus et arma 

Fulmineum mediis excepit faucibus ensem. 

Incaluit virtus, atque una caede refectus 240 

" Solvat " ait "poenas, Scaevam quicumque subactum 

1 A scene in the Roman amphitheatre is described here. 
* Aulus is a fictitious person, but Scaeva is historical, though 
Lucan absurdly exaggerates his exploits. 



archer, lights on his head and pierces tlie ball of his 
left eye — a surer shot than any archer could pray for. 
Together with the steel that hampers him, Scaeva 
breaks off the ligaments of the muscles ; boldly he 
pulls out the clinging arrow with the eye hanging 
to it, and treads upon arrow and eye together. 
Even so, when the Libyan ^ has sped his javelin 
straight by means of a little thong, the Pannonian 
bear, infuriated by the wound, whirls round towards 
the injured part ; in her rage she attacks the weapon 
that has struck her, and pursues in a circle the spear 
that flies along with her. Mad rage had destroyed 
his features; his mutilated face was one mass of 
streaming gore. A shout from his conquerors made 
the welkin ring ; a wound seen upon Caesar's self 
would not have delighted them more, by reason of a 
little blood. Then Scaeva suppressed his rage and 
hid it deep in his heart; banishing martial ardour 
far from his features, he said with an air of mild- 
ness : " S{)are me, fellow-citizens ; take far away 
your steel. Wounds can no longer do aught to 
kill me ; what is needed is not to hurl fresh weapons 
but to pluck forth from my breast what stick there 
already. Take me up and place me in the camp of 
Magnus before I die ; do this service for your 
leader; let me set an example of desertion from 
Caesar, and not of glorious death." Ill-fated Aulus ^ 
was taken in by this guileful speech ; he saw not 
that Scaeva was holding his sword with point ready 
to thrust; he was in act to lift the captive's body 
and his weapons together, when the sword, swift as 
lightning, struck him full in the throat. Scaeva's 
ardour rose : the slaughter of a foe was the sole 
remedy for his plight : " if any believed that Scaeva 



Speravit ; pacem gladio si quaerit ab isto 

Magnus, adorato summittat Caesare signa. 

An similem vestri segnemque ad fata putatis ? 

Pompei vobis minor est causaeque senatus 245 

Quam mihi mortis amor." Simul haec effatur, et altus 

Caesareas pulvis testatur adesse cohortes. 

Dedecus hie belli Magno crimenque remisit, 

Ne solum totae fugerent te, Scaeva, catervae. 

Subducto qui Marte ruis ; nam sanguine fuso 260 

Vires pugna dabat. Labentem turba suorum 

Excipit atque umeris defectum inponere gaudet; 

Ac velut inclusum perfosso in pectore numen 

Et vivam magnae speciem Virtutis adorant. 

Telaque confixis certant evellere merabris 255 

Exornantque deos ac nudum pectore Martem 

Armis, Scaeva, tuis : felix hoc nomine famae. 

Si tibi durus Hiber aut si tibi terga dedisset 

Cantaber exiguis aut longis Teutonus armis. 

Non tu bellorum spoliis ornare Tonantis 260 

Templa potes, non tu laetis ululare triumphis. 

Infelix, quanta dominum virtute parasti ! 

Nee magis hac Magnus castrorum parte repulsus 
Intra claustra piger dilato Marte quievit, 
Quam mare lassatur, cum se tollentibus Euris 265 

Frangentem fluctus scopulum ferit aut latus alti 
Montis adest seramque sibi parat unda ruinam. 

* Mars was commonly represented as carrying spear and 
shield but without clothing. 

* armis seems to mean ' defensive armour.* 



was conquered, let him pay the penalty," he cried ; 
"if Magnus wants peace from my sword, first let 
him bow his head and sink his standards before 
Caesar. Think you that I am like yourselves and 
unwilling to die? Death is dearer to me than 
Pompey and the Senate's cause are to you." Even 
as he spoke these words, a pillar of dust showed that 
cohorts of Caesar's were near ; and it saved Magnus 
from shameful defeat and from the reproach of having 
his whole force routed by Scaeva singlehanded. 
When the enemy withdrew, Scaeva collapsed ; for 
his blood was all spent, and only fighting gave him 
strength. Friends, crowding round, caught him as 
he fell and joyfully raised his fainting body on their 
shoulders ; they worshipped the deity that seemed 
to dwell in that mutilated breast, and the living 
semblance of the great goddess. Valour. They vie 
with one another in plucking the weapons forth 
from his pierced limbs, and they use his armour to 
deck the statues of the gods and of Mars with 
naked breast.^ Happy had he been in this title 
to fame, had he routed hardy Iberians or Cantabrians 
with their targets or Teutons with their long shields.^ 
But Scaeva can never deck the Thunderer's temple 
with his trophies nor shout for joy in the triumph. 
Unhappy wretch, how bravely you fought that a 
tyrant might rule over you! 

But though he was beaten back at this point of 
the lines, Magnus did not postpone war or stay idle 
within his enclosure, any more than the sea grows 
weary, when it is driven by rising winds against 
a cliff that breaks the tide, or when its waves gnaw 
the side of a high mountain and so prepare an 
avalanche for themselves in time to come. He turned 


Hinc vicina petens placido castella profundo 
Incursu gemini Martis rapit, armaque late 
Spargit et efFuso laxat tentoria campo, 
Mutandaeque iuvat permissa licentia terrae. 
Sic pleno Padus ore tumens super aggere tutas 
Excurrit ripas et totos concutit agros ; 
Succubuit si qua tellus cumuloque furentem 
Undarum non passa ruit, turn fl amine toto 
Transit et ignotos operit sibi gurgite campos: 
Illos terra fugit dominos, his rura colonis 
Accedunt donante Pado. Vix proelia Caesar 
Senserat, elatus specula quae prodidit ignis : 
Invenit inpulsos presso iam pulvere muros, 
Frigidaque_, ut veteris, deprendit signa ruinae. 
Accendit pax ipsa loci, movitque furorem 
Pompeiana quies et victo Caesare somnus. 
Ire vel in clades properat, dum gaudia turbet. 
Torquato ruit inde minax, qui Caesaris arma 
Segnius haud vidit, quam malo nauta tremente 
Omnia subducit Circaeae vela procellae ; 
Agminaque interius muro breviore recepit, 
Densius ut parva disponeret arma corona. 
Transierat primi Caesar munimina valli. 
Cum super ie totis immisit collibus arma 
Effuditque acies obsaeptum Magnus in hostem. 
Non sic Hennaeis habitans in vallibus horret 
Enceladum spirante Noto, cum tota cavernas 



his arms against the forts that lay near the calm sea, 
attacking them on both elements at once ; he scat- 
tered his forces far and wide, enlarging his bivouac 
on the broad plain, and taking advantage of the 
opportunity to shift his ground. Thus the river 
Po, swollen with brimming estuary, overflows its 
banks though defended by dykes, and oversets whole 
districts; if the earth anywhere gives way and 
collapses, unable to withstand the stream raging 
with its crest of waters, the whole river passes over 
and drowns plains which it never knew before ; some 
owners their land deserts, while others gain new 
acres by the river's gift. Caesar had hardly been 
aware of the fighting ; the news of it was conveyed 
to him by a fire-signal from a lofty tower. He 
found the walls overthrown and the dust already 
laid ; the signs of destruction that met him were 
cold, as if it had happened long ago. His rage was 
kindled and stirred by the very peacefulness of the 
scene, by the fact that the Pompeians were idle and 
took their rest after defeating Caesar ! He rushed 
on even into disaster, provided he could disturb their 
rejoicing. He flew on to threaten Torquatus ; but 
Torquatus bestirred himself at sight of Caesar's 
troops, as briskly as the sailor furls every sail on 
his quivering mast before the gale that blows off 
Circeii ; so Torquatus led back his men behind an 
inner wall, that he might marshal them in closer 
ranks and a narrower ring. Caesar had already 
passed the defences of his outmost palisade, when 
Magnus launched his army against him from all the 
heights and poured out his forces upon a foe en- 
trapped. When the South wind blows and Etna 
discharges all her caverns and runs as a river of fire 



Egerit et torrens in campos defluit Aetna, 295 

Caesaris ut miles glomerato pulvere victus 

Ante aciem caeci trepidus sub nube timoris 

Hostibus occurrit fugiens inque ipsa pavendo 

Fata ruit. Totus mitti civilibus armis 

Usque vel in pacem potuit cruor : ipse furentes 300 

Dux tenuit gladios. Felix ac libera regum, 

Roma, fores iurisque tui, vicisset in illo 

Si tibi Sulla loco. Dolet heu semperque dolebit, 

Quod scelerum, Caesar, prodest tibi summa tuorum. 

Cum genero pugnasse pio. Pro tristia fata ! 305 

Non Uticae Libye clades, Hispania Mundae 

Flesset et infando pollutus sanguine Nilus 

Nobilius Phario gestasset rege cadaver. 

Nee luba Marmaricas nudus pressisset harenas 

Poenorumque umbras placasset sanguine fuso 310 

Scipio, nee sancto caruisset vita Catone. 

Ultimus esse dies potuit tibi, Roma, malorum, 

Exire e mediis potuit Pharsalia fatis. 

Deserit averso possessam numine sedem 
Caesar et Emathias lacero petit agmine terras. 316 

Arma secuturum soceri, quacumque fugasset, 
Temptavere suo comites devertere Magnum 
Hortatu, patrias sedes atque hoste carentem 
Ausoniam peteret. " Numquam me Caesaris," inquit 
" Exemplo reddam patriae, numquamque videbit 320 
Me nisi dimisso redeuntem milite Roma. 

^ See n. to 1. 92. ^ The corpse of Pompey. 

^ Metellus Scipio, Pompey's present father-in-law: he wasi 
descended from the conqueror of Carthage. 



over the plains, the dwellers in the vale of Henna 
dread Enceladus ; ^ but direr dread was felt then by 
Caesar's soldiers, conquered before the battle by the 
rolling dust, and quaking under a cloud of blind 
terror ; flight brings them face to face with the foe, 
and they rush straight on death by retreating. Civil 
war might then have shed its last drop of blood, and 
peace might even have followed ; but Pompey him- 
self kept back his furious soldiers. Rome might 
have been saved, free from tyrants and mistress of 
her own actions, if a Sulla had won that victory for 
her. Grievous alas ! is it, and ever will be, that 
Caesar profited by his worst crime — his fighting against 
a kinsman who had scruples. Out upon cruel destiny ! 
Libya and Spain would not have lamented the dis- 
asters at Utica and Munda; the Nile, defiled by 
horrid bloodshed, would not have borne a corpse^ 
nobler than the King of Egypt ; the naked body of 
Juba would never have fallen on African sands ; 
Scipio ^ would not have bled to appease the Cartha- 
ginian dead, nor would the land of the living have 
lost the stainless Cato — that day might have ended 
Rome's agony, and Pharsalia might have been blotted 
out from the central scroll of destiny. 

Caesar abandoned a position he had occupied against 
the will of Heaven, and made for the land of Thessaly 
with his battered forces. Magnus intended to pursue 
Caesar's army along the line of their flight, whatever 
it might be ; and when his officers tried to turn him 
from his purpose and urged him to return to his 
native land of Italy, now that no foe was there, 
** Never," he replied, "shall I go back to my country 
in Caesar's fashion ; never shall Rome see me return 
before I have disbanded my soldiers. When the 



Hesperiam potui motu surgente tenere. 

Si vellem patriis aciem committere templis 

Ac medio pugnare foro. Dum bella relegem, 

Extremum Scythici transcendam frigoris orbem 325 

Ardentesque plagas. Victor tibi, Roma, quietem 

Eripiam, qui, ne premerent te proelia, fugi ? 

A potius, ne quid bello patiaris in isto, 

Te Caesar putet esse suam." Sic fatus in ortus 

Ptioebeos condixit iter, terraeque secutus 330 

Devia, qua vastos aperit Candavia saltus, 

Contigit Emathiam, bello quam fata parabant. 

Thessaliam, qua parte diem brumalibus horis 
Attollit Titan, rupes Ossaea coercet ; 
Cum per summa poli Phoebum trahit altior aestas, 335 
Pelion opponit radiis nascentibus umbras ; 
At medios ignes caeli rapidique Leonis 
Solstitiale caput nemorosus summovet Othrys. 
Excipit adversos Zephyros et lapyga Pindus 
Et maturato praecidit vespere lucem ; 340 

Nee metuens imi Borean habitator Olympi 
Lucentem totis ignorat noctibus Arcton. 
Hos inter montes, media qui valle premuntur, 
Perpetuis quondam latuere paludibus agri, 
Flumina dum campi retinent nee pervia Tempe 345 

Dant aditus pelagi, stagnumque inplentibus unum 
Crescere cursus erat. Postquam discessit Olympo 
Herculea gravis Ossa manu subitaeque ruinam 
Sensit aquae Nereus, melius mansura sub undis 
Emathis aequorei regnum Piiarsalos Achillis 360 

^ Lucan reverses the true position of these mountains : Ossa 
is on the N.E. of Thessaly, Pelion on the S.E. 

* Thetis, the mother of Achilles, was a sea goddess. 



troubles began, I might have held Italy, had I been 
willing to join battle in the Roman temples and 
fight in the centre of the Forum. To keep war far 
away, I would go beyond the uttermost region of 
Scythian cold, beyond the torrid zone. Shall I, who 
fled from Rome to save her from war's horrors, rob 
her of peace now that I am victorious? Nay, to 
spare her from suffering in this contest, rather let 
Caesar reckon her as his own." Thus Pompey spoke, 
and gave orders for marching eastwards ; and follow- 
ing a devious route, where Candavia opens out its 
huge defiles, he reached Thessaly — the land which 
destiny was preparing for the war, 

Thessaly is bounded by the peak of Ossa in the 
quarter where the sun rises in winter; and when 
advancing summer makes the sun move through the 
zenith, Pelion confronts the rising beams with its 
shade.^ But wooded Othrys repels the southern 
fires of the sky and the head of the parching Lion 
at midsummer; and Pindus faces and meets the 
West and North-west winds, and shortens day by 
hastening on evening ; the dweller at the foot of 
Olympus never dreads the North wind, and knows 
nothing of the Bear, though it shine all night. The 
land which lies low in the depression between these 
mountains was once covered over with continuous 
swamps ; for tlie plains detained the rivers, nor did 
the outlet of Tempe suffer them to reach the sea ; 
they filled a single basin, and their only way of 
running was to rise. But when the weight of Ossa 
was severed from Olympus by the hand of Hercules, 
and the sea first felt a sudden avalanche of waters, 
then Thessalian Pharsalos, the realm of sea-bom ^ 
Achilles, rose above the surface — better had it re- 



Eminet et, prima Rhoeteia litora pinu 

Quae tetigit, Phylace Pteleosque et Dorion ira 

Flebile Pieridum ; Trachin pretioque nefandae 

Lampados Herculeis fortis Meliboea pharetris 

Atque olim Larisa potens ; ubi nobile quondam 355 

Nunc super Argos arant, veteres ubi fabula Thebas 

Monstrat Echionias, ubi quondam Pentheos exul 

Colla caputque ferens supremo tradidit igni 

Questa, quod hoc solum nato rapuisset. Agave. 

Ergo abrupta palus multos discessit in amnes. 360 

Purus in occasus, parvi sed gurgitis, Aeas 

lonio fluit inde mari, nee fortior undis 

Labitur avectae pater Isidis, et tuus, Oeneu, 

Paene gener crassis oblimat Echinadas undis, 

Et Meleagream maculatus sanguine Nessi 365 

Euhenos Calydona secat. Ferit amne citato 

Maliacas Spercheos aquas, et flumine puro 

Inrigat Amphrysos famulantis pascua Phoebi. 368 

Accipit Asopos cursus Phoenixque Melasque, 374 

Quique nee umentes nebulas nee rore madentem 369 

Aera nee tenues ventos suspirat Anauros, 

Et quisquis pelago per se non cognitus amnis 

Peneo donavit aquas : it gurgite rapto 

Apidanos numquamque celer, nisi mixtus, Enipeus ; 373 

Solus, in alterius nomen cum venerit undae, 376 

Defendit Titaresos aquas lapsusque superne 

374 u-as transposed by ffousman. 

* The birthplace of Thamyris whom the Muses blinded. 
' Philoctetes, a native of Meliboea, received the arrows of 

Hercules as a reward for kindling the hero's funeral pyre. 
3 Distinct from the more famous Argos in Peloponnesus. 

* The Inachus and the Achelous are the two rivers thus 


mained drowned for ever ! And other cities rose : 
Phylace, whose bark was first to land on the shores 
of Troy ; Pteleos, and Dorion ^ that laments the wrath 
of the Muses ; Trachis, and Meliboea, strong with 
the quiver of Hercules that paid for the funeral 
torch ; ^ Larisa, powerful in ancient times ; and the 
place where the plough now passes over what once 
was famous Argos,^ where legend points out the 
older Thebes of Echion, and where Agave, then an 
exile, once bore the head and neck of Pentheus and 
gave them up to the funeral fire, lamenting that she 
had carried off no more from her son's body.— In this 
way the swamp was parted and broken up into 
many rivers. From there the Aeas, clear but of 
little volume, flows westward to the Ionian sea ; 
with no stronger stream glides the father of ravished 
Isis ; and he who came near to marrying the daughter 
of Oeneus and silts up with his muddy waves tlie 
Echinad islands ; * and there the Euhenos, stained 
with the blood of Nessus, runs through Meleager's 
Calydon. There the swift stream of the Spercheos 
strikes the waves of the Maliac gulf, and the pure 
waters of the Amphrysos irrigate the pastures where 
Apollo herded cattle. Here the Asopos starts its 
course, the Phoenix, and the Black river ; and the 
Anauros, which breathes out neither moist vapours 
nor dew-drenched air nor light breezes. Then there 
are the rivers which the sea knows not in their own 
shape, and which give their waters to the Peneus : 
the Apidanus, robbed of its stream ; the Enipeus, 
which never hastens until it mingles with the 
Peneus ; and the Titaresos, which alone, after taking 
the name of the other river, guards its waters : 
gliding on the surface, it treats the flood of the 


Gurgite Penei pro siccis utitiir arvis. 

Hunc fama est Stygiis manare paludibus amnern 

Et capitis memorem fluvii contagia vilis 

Nolle pati superumque sibi servare timorem. 380 

Ut primum emissis patuerunt amnibus arva, 
Pinguis Bebrycio discessit vomere sulcus ; 
Mox Lelegum dextra pressum descendit aratnim ; 
Aeolidae Dolopesque solum fregere coloni 
Et Magnates eqiiis, Minyae gens cognita remis. 385 

Illic semiferos Ixionidas Centauros 
Feta Peletlironiis nubes effudit in antris : 
Aspera te Plioloes frangentem, Monyche, saxa, 
Teque sub Oetaeo torquentem vertice volsas, 
Rhoece ferox, quas vix Boreas inverteret, ornos, 390 
Hospes et Alcidae magni Phole, teque, per amnem 
Inprobe Lernaeas vector passure sagittas, 
Teque, senex Chiron, gelido qui sidere fulgens 
Inpetis Haemonio maiorem Scorpion arcu. 

Hac tellure feri micuerunt semina Martis. 395 

Primus ab aequorea percussis cuspide saxis 
Thessalicus sonipes, bellis feralibus omen, 
Exiluit, primus chalybem frenosque momordit 
Spumavitque novis Lapithae domitoris habenis. 
Prima fretum scindens Pagasaeo litore pinus 400 

Terrenum ignotas hominem })roiecit in undas. 
Primus Thessalicae rector telluris lonos 
In formara calidae percussit pondera massae, 
Fudit et argentum flammis aurumque moneta 

^ The gods swore by the water of the Styx and considered 
the Oath as binding : cf. I. 749. 

• Sagittarius, the 11th sign of the Zodiac, is represented as 
a Centaur ; Scorpio is the 10th sign. 

3 The Argo. 


Pencils as if it were dry land. For legend tells that 
this river flows from the Stygian pool, and, mindful 
of its source, spurns admixture with a common 
stream, and retains the awe that the gods feel 
for it.i 

As soon as the rivers flowed off and the land was 
revealed, the fertile furrows were cleft by the 
plough-shares of the Bebryces ; and next the hands 
of the Leleges drove the plough deep. The soil 
was broken by Aeolidae and Dolopians, by Magne- 
sians famous for horses and Minyae famous for ships. 
There the cloud, pregnant by Ixion, brought forth 
in the caves of Pelethronium the Centaurs, half men 
and half beasts — Monychus who broke with his hoofs 
the hard rocks of Pholoe ; bold Rhoecus who up- 
rooted ash-trees for missiles beneath Oeta's crest, 
ash-trees that the North wind could hardly overset ; 
Pholus, who entertained great Alcides ; presump- 
tuous Nessus,who ferried passengers across the river 
and was doomed to feel the arrows of Hercules ; and 
old Chiron, whose star shines in the winter sky and 
aims his Thessalian bow at the Scorpion,^ larger than 

In this land the seeds of cruel war first sprang to 
Ufe. From her rocks, smitten by the trident of the 
sea, leaped forth first the Thessalian charger, to 
portend dreadful warfare ; here he first champed the 
steel bit, and the bridle of his Lapith tamer, unfelt 
before, brought the foam to his mouth. The shore 
of Pagasae launched the ship ^ that first cleft the 
sea and flung forth man, a creature of the land, upon 
the untried waves. lonos, a king of Thessaly, was 
the first to hammer into shape ingots of molten 
metal; he melted silver in the fire, and broke up 



Fregit et inmensis coxit fornacibus aera. 405 

Illic, quod populos scelerata inpegit in arma, 
Divitias numerare datum est. Hinc maxima serpens 
Descendit Python Cirrhaeaque fluxit in arva, 
Unde et Thessalicae veniunt ad Pythia laurus. 
Inpius hinc prolem superis inmisit Aloeus, 410 

Inseruit celsis prope se cum Pelion astris 
Sideribusque vias incurrens abstulit Ossa. 
Hac ubi damnata fatis tellure locarunt 
Castra duces, cunctos belli praesaga futuri 
Mens agitat, sumraique gravem discriminis horam 415 
Adventare palam est, propius iam fata moveri. 
Degeneres trepidant animi peioraque versant ; 
Ad dubios pauci praesumpto robore casus 
Spemque metumque ferunt. Turbae sed mixtus inerti 
Sextus erat, Magno proles indigna parente, 420 

Cui ^ mox Scyllaeis exul grassatus in undis 
Polluit aequoreos Siculus pirata triumphos. 
Qui stimulante metu fati praenoscere cursus, 
Inpatiensque morae venturisque omnibus aeger, 
Non tripodas Deli, non Pythia consulit antra, 425 

Nee quaesisse libet, primis quid frugibus altrix 
Aere lovis Dodona sonet, quis noscere fibra 
Fata queat, quis prodat aves, quis fulgura caeli 
Servet et Assyria scrutetur sidera cura, 
Aut si quid tacitum sed fas erat. Ille supernis 430 

* Cui Heinsius : Qui MS8. 

1 I.e. Delphi. 

•. The Giants piled the mountains on one another in order to 
^torm the heavens. 

' By suppressing the pirates. 

* Dodona, the seat of an oracle, was famous for its oaks ; and 
acorns took the place of corn in primitive times. 



gold and stamped it, and smelted copper in vast 
furnaces ; there it became possible to count wealthy 
and this drove mankind into the wickedness of war. 
From Thessaly the Python, hugest of serpents, came 
down and glided on to the land of Cirrha ; ^ for 
which reason also the laurels for the Pythian games 
are brought from Thessaly. From here the rebel 
Aloeus launched his sons against Heaven, when 
Pelion raised its head almost to the height of the 
stars, and Ossa, encroaching upon the planets, 
stopped their courses.^ 

When the rivals had pitched their camps in this 
accursed country, every heart was disturbed by 
presentiments of war ; it was plain that the stern 
hour of final decision was at hand, and that doom 
was drawing nearer and nearer. Base minds quaked 
and dwelt upon the worst ; a few, fortifying them- 
selves beforehand for the uncertain issue, felt hope 
as well as fear. Among the helpless throng was 
Sextus, the unworthy son of Magnus, he who later 
as an exile infested the waters of Scylla, and stained 
by piracy in Sicily the glory his father had gained 
from the sea.^ Fear urged him on to learn before- 
hand the course of destiny ; he was impatient of 
delay and distracted by all that was to come. But 
he sought not the tripods of Delos nor the caverns 
of Delphi: he cared not to inquire what sound 
Dodona makes with the cauldron of Jupiter — Dodona 
that grew the food of primitive man ; * he asked not 
who could read the future by means of entrails, or 
interpret birds, or watch the lightnings of heaven 
and investigate the stars with Assyrian lore — he 
sought no knowledge which, though secret, is per- 
missible. To him were known the mysteries of 



Detestanda deis saevorum arcana magorum 

Noverat et tristes sacris feralibus aras, 

Umbrarum Ditisque fidem, miseroque liquebat 

Scire parum superos. Vanum saevumque furorem 

Adiuvat ipse locus vicinaque nioenia castris 435 

Haemonidum, ficti quas nulla licentia monstri 

Transierit, quarum, quidquid non creditur, ars est. 

Thessala quin etiam tell us herbasque nocentes 

Rupibus ingenuit sensiiraque saxa canentes 

Arcanum ferale magos. Ibi plurima surgunt 440 

Vim factura deis, et terris hospita Colchis 

Legit in Haemoniis quas non advexerat herbas. 

Inpia tot populis, tot surdas gentibus aures 

Caelicolum dirae convertunt carmina gentis. 

Una per aetherios exit vox ilia recessus 445 

Verbaque ad invitum perfert cogentia numen, 

Quod non cura poli caelique volubilis umquam 

Avocat. Infandum tetigit cum sidera murmur, 

Turn, Babylon Persea licet secretaque Memphis 

Omne vetustorum solvat penetrale magorum, 450 

Abducet superos alienis Thessalis aris. 

Carmine Thessalidum dura in praecordia fliixit 

Non fatis adductus amor, flammisque severi 

Inlicitis arsere senes. Nee noxia tantum 

Pocula proficiunt aut cum turgentia suco 465 

Frontis amaturae subducunt pignora fetae : 

Mens hausti nulla sanie polluta veneni, 

Excantata perit. Quos non concordia mixti 

1 Medea. 

2 An excrescence upon the forehead of a new-born foal, which 
the mare ate and which made her love the foal ; it was stolen 
to be used for love-philtres. 


cruel witchcraft which the gods above abominate, and 
grim altars with funeral rites ; he knew the veracity 
of Pluto and the shades below ; and the wretch was 
convinced that the gods of heaven are ignorant. 
The place itself fed his false and cruel delusion : the 
camp was near the habitation of those Thessalian i^ 
witches, whom no boldness of imaginary horror can 
outdo, and who practise all that is deemed im- 
possible. Moreover, the land produces baneful herbs 
on her heights, and her rocks yield to the deadly 
spell chanted by her wizards. Full many a plant 
grows there that can put constraint upon the gods ; 
and the Colchian stranger^ gathered on Thessalian 
soil herbs she had not brought with her across the 
sea. The profane spells of that ill-omened race 
compel the attention of the gods, who turn a deaf 
ear to so many peoples and nations. Their voice 
alone speeds through the remote parts of heaven, 
and conveys the words that bind the reluctant deity, 
whom no care for the sky and revolving firmament 
ever distracts from listening. When her hideous v 
hum has reached the stars, then, even though Persian 
Babylon and weird Memphis unlock every shrine of 
their ancient magicians, the Thessalian witch will 
call the gods away from all altars but her own. By 
their spells love steals into insensible hearts against 
the decree of destiny, and austere old age burns with 
forbidden passion. And not only their baleful 
f)h litres have power, or their act when they steal 
from the mare the sign ^ that she will love her foal 
— the sign that grows, swollen with juice, upon its 
forehead ; but even when defiled by no horrid 
draught of poison, men's minds are destroyed by 
incantations. Those whom no bond of wedlock and 


VOL. I. M 


AUigat ulla tori blandaeque potentia formae, 

Traxerunt torti magica vertigine fili. 460 

Cessavere vices rerum, dilataque longa 

Haesit nocte dies ; legi non paruit aether, 

Torpuit et praeceps audito carmine mundus, 

Axibus et rapidis inpulsos luppiter urguens 

Miratur non ire polos. Nunc omnia conplent 465 

Imbribus et calido praeducunt nubila Phoebo, 

Et tonat ignaro caelum love ; vocibus isdem 

Umentes late nebulas nimbosque solutis 

Excussere comis. Ventis cessantibus aequor 

Intumuit ; rursus vetitum sentire procellas 470 

Conticuit turbante Noto, puppemque ferentes 

In ventum tumuere sinus. De rupe pependit 

Abscisa fixus torrens, amnisque cucurrit, 

Non qua pronus erat. Nilum non extulit aestas, 

Maeander derexit aquas, Rhodanumque morantem 476 

Praecipitavit Arar. Summisso vertice montes 

Explicuere iugum ; nubes suspexit Olympus, 

Solibus et nullis Scythicae, cum bruma rigeret, 

Dimaduere nives. Inpulsam sidere Tethyn 

Reppulit Haemonium defenso litore carmen. 480 

Terra quoque inmoti concussit ponderis axes, 

Et medium vergens titubavit nisus in orbem. 

Tantae molis onus percussum voce recessit 

Perspectumque dedit circumlabentis Olympi. 

Omne potens animal leti genitumque nocere 485 

Et pavet Haemonias et mortibus instruit artes. 

^ A tunnel is driven through the earth by witchcraft, and 
shows the stars revolving beneath it. 


no attraction of alluring beauty can bind together 
are compelled by the mystic twirling of the twisted 
thread. The natural changes cease to operate : 
daylight lingers and is delayed by the length of 
night ; the ether is disobedient to its law ; listening 
to their spells, the swift firmament is arrested, and 
Jupiter, while driving on the heavens that speed on 
their swift axles, marvels that they stand still. At 
one time they drench the world with rain and veil 
the hot sun with clouds, and the heavens thunder 
while Jupiter knows nothing of it ; and also by spells 
they disperse the canopy of watery vapour and the 
dishevelled tresses of the storm-clouds. Though the 
winds are still, the sea rises high ; or again it is for- 
bidden to be affected by storms, and is silent while 
the South wind blusters, and the sails that speed 
a vessel belly out against the breeze. The water- 
fall is arrested on the steep face of the cliff; and the 
running river forsakes its downward channel. The 
Nile fails to rise in summer ; the Maeander straightens 
its course ; the Arar hurries on the sluggish Rhone ; 
the mountains lower their tops and level their 
ridges ; Mount Olympus sees the clouds above it ; 
and the Scythian snows thaw without any sun in 
winter's cold. When the tide is driven on by the 
moon, the spells of Thessalian witches drive it back 
and defend the shore. The earth too throws the 
poles of her stable mass out of gear, and the pressure 
that tends to the centre of the sphere becomes 
unsteady. Smitten by a spell, that mighty weight 
parts asunder and reveals to sight the stars revolving 
around it.^ Every creature that has power to kill 
and was born to do mischief dreads the Thessalian 
witches and provides their skill with the means of 



Has avidae tigres et nobilis ira leonum 

Ore fovent blaiido ; gelidos his explicat orbes 

Inque pruinoso coluber distenditur arvo ; 

Viperei coeunt abrupto corpore nodi, 490 

Humanoque cadit serpens adflata veneno. 

Quis labor hie superis cantus herbasque sequendi 

Spernendique timor ? cuius commercia pacti 

Obstrictos habuere deos ? parere necesse est 

An iuvat ? ignota tantum pietate merentur, 495 

An tacitis valuere minis ? hoc iuris in omnes 

Est illis superos, an habent haec carmina certum 

Imperiosa deum, qui mundum cogere, quidquid 

Cogitur ipse, potest ? Illis et sidera primum 

Praecipiti deducta polo, Phoebeque serena 600 

Non aliter diris verborum obsessa venenis 

Palluit et nigris terrenisque ignibus arsit, 

Quam si fraterna prohiberet imagine tell us 

Insereretque suas flammis caelestibus umbras, 

Et patitur tantos cantu depressa labores 606 

Donee suppositas propior despumet in herbas. 

Hos scelerum ritus, haec dirae crimina gentis 
Effera damnarat nimiae pietatis Erictho 
Inque novos ritus pollutam duxerat artem. 
lUi namque nefas urbis summittere tecto 510 

Aut laribus ferale caput, desertaque busta 
Iricolit et tumulos expulsis obtinet umbris 
Grata deis Erebi. Coetus audire silentum, 
Nosse domos Stygias arcanaque Ditis operti 



death. The fierce tiger and the angry lion, king 
of beasts, lick their hands and fawn upon them ; for 
them the snake unfolds his chilly coils and stretches 
at full length on the frosty ground ; knotted vipers 
split apart and unite again ; and the serpent dies, 
blasted by human poison. — Why do the gods trouble 
to heed these spells and herbs, and fear to despise 
them? What mutual bond puts constraint upon 
them ? Must they obey, or do they take pleasure in 
obedience ? Is this subservience the reward of some 
piety unknown to us, or is it extorted by unuttered 
threats ? Has witchcraft power over all the gods, 
or are these tyrannical spells addressed to one special 
deity who can inflict upon the world all the com- 
pulsion that he suffers himself? — By these witches 
the stars were first brought down from the swiftly- 
moving sky ; and the clear moon, beset by dread 
incantations, grew dim and burned with a dark and 
earthy light, just as if the earth cut her off from her 
brother's reflection and thrust its shadow athwart the 
fires of heaven. Lowered by magic, she suffers all 
that pain, until from close quarters she drops foam 
upon the plants below. 

These criminal rites and malpractices of an accursed 
race fierce Erictho had scouted as not wicked 
enough, and had turned her loathsome skill to rites 
before unknown. To her it was a crime to shelter 
her ill-omened head in a city or under a roof: dear 
to the deities of Erebus, she inhabited deserted 
tombs, and haunted graves from which the ghosts 
had been driven. Neither the gods of Heaven, nor 
the fact that she was still living, prevented her from 
hearing the speechless converse of the dead, or from 
knowing the abodes of Hell and the mysteries of 



Non superi, non vita vetat. Tenet ora profanae 615 

Foeda situ macies, caeloque ignota sereno 

Terribilis Stygio facies pallore gravatur 

Inpexis onerata comis : si nimbus et atrae 

Sidera subducunt nubes, tunc Thessala nudis 

Egreditur bustis nocturnaque fulmina captat. 620 

Semina fecundae segetis calcata perussit 

Et non letiferas spirando perdidit auras. 

Nee superos orat nee cantu supplice numeii 

Auxiliare vocat nee fibras ilia litantes 

Novit : funereas aris inponere flammas 625 

Gaudet et accenso rapuit quae tura sepulchro. 

Omne nefas superi prima iam voce precantis 

Concedunt carmenque timent audire secundum. 

Viventes animas et adhuc sua membra regentes 

Infodit busto, fatis debentibus annos 630 

Mors invita subit; perversa funera pompa 

Rettulit a tumulis, fugere cadavera letum. 

Fumantes iuvenum cineres ardentiaque ossa 

E mediis rapit ilia rogis ipsamque, parentes 

Quam tenuere, facem nigroque volantia fumo 635 

Feralis fragmenta tori vestesque fluentes 

Colligit in cineres et olentes membra favillas. 

Ast, ubi servantur saxis, quibus intimus umor 

Ducitur, et tracta durescunt tabe medullae 

Corpora, tunc omnes avide desaevit in artus 540 

Inmergitque manus oculis gaudetque gelatos 

EfFodisse orbes et siccae pallida rodit 

Excrementa manus. Laqueum nodosque nocentes 

* He refers to a sarcophagus, which, as the name shews, 
was supposed to dry up the corpse and consume it. 



subterranean Pluto. Haggard and loathly with age 
is the face of the witch ; her awful countenance, 
overcast with a hellish pallor and weighed down by 
uncombed locks, is never seen by the clear sky ; but 
if storm and black clouds take away the stars, then 
she issues forth from rifled tombs and tries to catch 
the nocturnal lightnings. Her tread blights the 
seeds of the fertile cornfield, and her breath poisons 
air that before was harmless. She addresses no 
prayer to Heaven, invokes no divine aid with sup- 
pliant hymn, and knows nothing of the organs of 
victims offered in sacrifice ; she rejoices to lay on the 
altar funeral fires and incense snatched from the 
kindled pyre. At the first sound of her petition 
the gods grant every honor, dreading to hear a 
second spell. She buries in the grave the living 
whose souls still direct their bodies : while years are 
still due to them from destiny, death comes upon 
them unwillingly; or she brings back the funeral 
from the tomb with procession reversed, and the 
dead escape from death. The smoking ashes and 
burning bones of the young she snatches from the 
centre of the pyre, and the very torch from the 
hands of the parents ; she gathers up the pieces of 
the bier, fluttering in the black smoke, and the 
grave-clothes as they crumble into ashes, and the 
cinders that reek of the corpse. But, when the dead 
are coffined in stone,^ which drains off the internal 
moisture, absorbs the corruption of the marrow, and 
makes the corpse rigid, then the witch eagerly vents 
her rage on all the limbs, thrusting her fingers into 
the eyes, scooping out gleefully the stiffened eyeballs, 
and gnawing the yellow nails on the withered hand. 
She breaks with her teeth the fatal noose, and 



Ore suo ruinpit, pendentia corpora carpsit 

Abrasitque cruces percussaque viscera nimbis 546 

Volsit et incoctas admisso sole medullas. 

Insertum manibus chalybem nigramque per artus 

Stillantis tabi saniem virusque coactura 

Sustulit, et nervo morsus retinente pependit. 

Et, quodcumque iacet nuda tellure cadaver, 660 

Ante feras volucresque sedet ; nee carpere membra 

Volt ferro manibusque suis, morsusque luporum 

Expectat siccis raptura e faucibus artus. 

Nee cessant a caede manus, si sanguine vivo 

Est opus, erumpat iugulo qui primus aperto, 656 

Extaque funereae poscunt trepidantia mensae. 

Volnere sic ventris, non qua natura vocabat, 

Extrahitur partus calidis ponendus in aris ; 

Et quotiens saevis opus est ac fortibus umbris. 

Ipsa facit manes. Hominum morsomnis in usu est. 660 

Ilia genae florem primaevo corpore volsit. 

Ilia comam laeva morienti abscidit ephebo. 

Saepe etiam caris cognato in funere dira 

Thessalis incubuit membris atque oscula figens 

Truncavitque caput conpressaque dentibus ora 665 

Laxavit siccoque haerentem gutture linguam 

Praemordens gelidis infudit murmura labris 

Arcanumque nefas Stjgias mandavit ad umbras. 

Hanc ut faraa loci Pompeio prodidit, alta 
Nocte poli. Titan medium quo tempore ducit 670 



mangles the carcass that dangles on the gallows, and 
scrapes the cross of the criminal ; she tears away the 
rain-be.iten flesh and the bones calcined by exposure 
to the sun. She purloins the nails that pierced the 
hands, the clotted filth, and the black humour of 
corruption that oozes over all the limbs; and when 
a muscle resists her teeth, she hangs her weight 
upon it. Whenever any corpse lies exposed on the 
ground, she sits by it before beast or bird can come ; 
but she will not mangle the limbs with the knife or 
her bare hands ; she waits for the wolves to tear it, 
and means to snatch the prey from their unvvetted 
throats. Nor is she slow to take life, if such warm 
blood is needed as gushes forth at once when the 
throat is slit, and if her ghoulish feast demands still 
palpitating flesh. In the same way she pierces the 
pregnant womb and delivers the child by an unnatural 
birth, in order to place it on the fiery altar; and 
whenever she requires the service of a bold, bad 
spirit, she takes life with her own hand. Every 
death of man serves her turn. She tears oft' the 
bloom of the face on the young man's body, and her 
lett hand severs the lock of hair on the head of the 
dying lad. Otten too, when a kinsman is buried, 
the dreadful witch hangs over the loved body : 
while kissing it, she mutilates the head and opens 
the closed mouth with her teeth ; then, biting the 
tip of the tongue that lies motionless in the dry 
throat, she pours inarticulate sound into the cold 
li})s, and sends a message of mysterious horror down 
to the shades of Hell. 

The rumour of the country told Pompeius of 
Erictho, and he took his way through deserted fields 
when night was high in heaven — at the hour when 



Sub nostra tellure diem, deserta per arva 

Carpit iter. Fidi scelerum suetique ministri 

EfFraetos circum tumulos ac busta vagati 

Conspexere procul praerupta in caute sedentem. 

Qua iuga devexus Pharsalica porrigit Haemus. 575 

Ilia magis magicisque deis incognita verba 

Temptabat carmenque novos fingebat in usus. 

Namque timens, ne Mars alium vagus iret in orbem 

Emathis et tellus tarn multa caede careret. 

Pollutes cantu dirisque venefica sucis 680 

Conspersos vetuit transmittere bella Philippos, 

Tot mortes habitura suas usuraque mundi 

Sanguine ; caesorum truncare cadavera regum 

Sperat et Hesperiae cineres avertere gentis 

Ossaque nobilium tantosque adquirere manes. 686 

Hie ardor sol usque labor, quid corpore Magni 

Proiecto rapiat, quos Caesaris involet artus. 

Quam prior adfatur Pompei ignava propago : 
" O decus Haemonidum, populis quae pandere fata 
Quaeque suo ventura potes devertere cursu, 590 

Te precor, ut certum liceat mihi noscere finem 
Quem belli fortuna paret. Non ultima turbae 
Pars ego Romanae, Magni clarissima proles, 
Vel dominus rerum vel tanti funeris heres. 
Mens dubiis pereulsa pavet rursusque parata est 696 
Certos ferre metus : hoc casibus eripe iuris, 

^ I.e. Pharsalia. 


the sun ushers in the noonday beneath our earth. 
Men who were wont to act as the trusted instruments 
of her wickedness went to and fro about the rifled 
graves and the tombs, till they sighted her far away 
sitting on a steep rock, where the Balkan slopes 
down and extends its range to Pharsalia. She was 
framing a spell unknown to wizards and the gods of 
wizardry, and inventing an incantation for a special 
purpose. She feared that the war might stray away 
to some other region, and that the land of Thessaly 
might miss so great a carnage ; and therefore the 
witch forbade Philippi,^ defiled by her spells and 
sprinkled with her noxious drugs, to allow the warfare 
to change its place. Then all those dead would be 
hers, and the blood of the whole world would be at 
her disposal. She hopes to mutilate the corpses of 
slaughtered kings, to plunder the ashes of the Roman 
nation and the bones of nobles, and to master the 
ghosts of the mighty. One passion only and one 
anxiety she feels — what part may she snatch from 
the exposed body of Magnus, and on what limbs of 
Caesar may she pounce ? 

The unworthy son of Pompey spoke first and 
addressed her. "Famous among Thessalian women, 
you who have power to reveal the future to mankind 
and to turn aside the course of events, I pray you 
that I may be allowed certain knowledge of the 
issue which the hazard of war is preparing. Not 
the meanest among Romans am I, but the renowned 
offspring of Magnus, and I shall be either lord of the 
world or inheritor of an awful doom. My heart quakes 
and is overcome by uncertainty, but is ready on the 
other hand to endure definite dangers. Take away 
from calamity the power of swooping down suddenly 



Ne subiti caecique ruant. Vel numina torque 
Vel tu parce deis et manibus exprime verura. 
Elysias resera sedes ipsamque vocatam, 600 

Quos petat e nobis, Mortem mihi coge fateri. 
Non humilis labor est : dignum, quod quaerere cures 
Vel tibi^ quo tanti praeponderet alea fati." 
Inpia laetatur vulgato nomine famae 
Thessalis, et contra : " Si fata minora moveres, 605 

Pronum erat, o iuvenis, quos velles ** inquit " in actus. 
Invites praebere deos. Conceditur arti, 
Unam cum radiis presserunt sidera mortem, 
Inseruisse moras ; et, quamvis fecerit omnis 
Stella senem, medios herbis abrumpimus annos. 610 
At, simul a prima descendit origine mundi 
Causarum series, atque omnia fata laborant 
Si quicquam mutare velis, unoque sub ictu 
Stat genus humanum, tum — Thessala turba fatemur — 
Plus Fortuna potest. Sed si praenoscere casus 616 

Contentus, facilesque aditus multique patebunt 
Ad verum : tellus nobis aetherque chaosque 
Aequoraque et campi Rhodopaeaque saxa loquentur. 
Sed pronum, cum tanta novae sit copia mortis, 
Emathiis unum campis attollere corpus, 620 

Ut modo defuncti tepidique cadaveris ora 
Plena voce sonent nee membris sole perustis 
Auribus incertum feralis strideat umbra." 
Dixerat, et noctis geminatis arte tenebris 

1 Lucan seems to have forgotten that there had been no 
fighting as yet in Thessaly. 



and unforeseen. Either put the gods to the question, 
or leave them alone and extort the truth from the 
dead. Unbar the gates of Elysium, summon Death 
himself, and force him to reveal to me which among 
us must be his prey. It is no mean service that I 
ask of you ; even in your own interest, it is worth 
your pains to enquire, which way the hazard of so 
great an issue inclines." Proud of her wide-spread 
fame, the wicked witch thus replied : " If you sought 
to alter a lesser decree of fate, it would have been 
easy, young man, to force the gods to any course of 
action at your desire. When the planets by their 
shining bear down a single soul to death, witchcraft 
has power to interpose a respite ; and, though all the 
stars promise a man old age, we cut short his life 
half-way by our magic herbs. But in some cases 
the chain of causes comes down from the creation of 
the world, and all destinies suffer if it is sought to 
make a single change, and the same blow affects the 
whole of mankind ; and there Fortune has more 
power than all the witches of Thessaly, and we admit 
it. If, however, it is enough for you to learn 
calamity before it comes, the ways of approaching 
the truth are many and will prove easy of access : 
earth and sky and the abyss, the seas and the plains 
and the cliff's of Rhodope, will find a tongue for us. 
But, since there is such abundance of recent 
slaughter,^ the simplest plan is to lift one dead man 
from the Thessalian fields ; then the mouth of a 
corpse still warm and freshly slain will speak with 
substantial utterance, and no dismal ghost, whose 
limbs are dried up by the sun, will gibber sounds 
unintelligible to our ears." 

Thus she spoke and made dark night twice as 



Maestum tecta caput squalenti nube pererrat 625 

Corpora caesorum tumulis proiecta negatis. 

Continuo fugere lupi, fugere revolsis 

Unguibus inpastae volucres, dum Thessala vatem 

Eligit et gelidas leto scrutata medullas 

Pulmonis rigidi stantes sine volnere fibras 630 

Invenit et vocem defuncto in corpore quaerit. 

Fata peremptorum pendent lam multa virorum, 

Quern superis revocasse velit. Si toll ere tolas 

Temptasset campis acies et reddere bello, 

Cessissent leges Erebi, monstroque potenti 635 

Extractus Stygio populus pugnasset Averno. 

Electum tandem traiecto gutture corpus 

Ducit, et inserto laqueis feralibus unco 

Per scopulos miserum trahitur, per saxa, cadaver 

Victurum, montisque cavi, quern tristis Erictho 640 

Damnarat sacris, alta sub rupe locatur. 

Haud procul a Ditis caecis depressa cavernis 
In praeceps subsedit humus, quam pallida pronis 
Urguet silva comis et nullo vertice caelum 
Suspiciens Phoebo non pervia taxus opacat. 645 

Marcentes intus tenebrae pallensque sub antris 
Longa nocte situs numquam nisi carmine factum 
Lumen habet. Non Taenariis sic faucibus aer 
Sedit iners, maestum mundi confine latentis 



dark by her magic. Then, with her gruesome head 
veiled in a hideous mist, she moved here and there 
among the bodies of the slain that were thrown out 
and denied burial. At once the wolves took flight, 
the vultures sheathed their talons and flew away 
ungorged ; meanwhile the witch picks out her 
prophet, prying into the inmost parts cold in death, 
till she finds the substance of the stiffened lungs 
unwounded and still firm, and seeking the power of 
utterance in a corpse. The destiny of many victims 
of battle is hanging now in the balance — which of 
them will she decide to restore to the upper world ? 
Had she tried to raise up the whole army on the 
plain and make them fight again, the laws of Erebus 
would have yielded to her, and a multitude, brought 
up from Stygian Avernus by the power of the fiend, 
would have taken the field. At last she chose a 
corpse and drew it along with the neck noosed, 
and in the dead man's noose she inserted a hook. 
The hapless body was dragged over rocks and 
stones, to live a second time, and was laid beneath 
a high rock of the hollow mountain which cruel 
Erictho had condemned to witness her rites. 

There the ground fell in a sheer descent, sinking 
almost to the depth of the invisible caverns of 
Pluto. A dim wood with forward-bending trees 
borders it, and yew-trees shade it — yew-trees that 
the sun cannot penetrate, and that turn no tops 
towards the sky. In the caves within dank darkness 
reigns, and the colourless mould caused by un- 
broken night ; the only light there is due to magic. 
Even in the gorge of Taenarus the air is less dead 
and stagnant ; it is the gloomy boundary between 
the unseen world and ours ; and the Rulers of 



Ac nostri, quo non metuant admittere manes 650 

Tartarei reges. Nam, quamvis Thessala vates 

Vim facial fatis, dubium est, quod traxerit illuc 

Aspiciat Stygias an quod descenderit umbras. 

Discolor et vario furialis cultus amictu 

Induitur, voltusque aperitur crine remoto, 666 

Et coma vipereis substringitur horrida sertis. 

Ut pavidos iuvenis comites ipsumque trementem 

Conspicit exanimi defixum lumina voltu, 

" Ponite" ait "trepida conceptos mente timores : 

lam nova, lam vera reddetur vita figura, 66U 

Ut quamvis pavidi possint audire loquentem. 

Si vero Stygiosque lacus ripamque sonantem 

Ignibus ostendam, si me praebente ^ videri 

Eumenides possint villosaque colla colubris 

Cerberus excutiens et vincti terga gigantes, 665 

Quis timor, ignavi, metuentes cernere manes? " 

Pectora tunc primum ferventi sanguine supplet 
Volneribus laxata novis taboque medullas 
Abluit et virus large lunare ministrat. 
Hue quidquid fetu genuit natura sinistro 670 

Miscetur. Non spuma canum quibus unda timori est, 
Viscera non lyncis, non dirae nodus hyaenae 
Defuit et cervi pastae serpente medullae, 
Non puppim retinens Euro tendente rudentes 
In mediis echenais aquis oculique draconum 676 

Quaeque sonant feta tepefacta sub alite saxa ; 

* praebente Madvig : praesente MS8. 

^ The ex^vfi'is, 'ship-stopper' (Latin r^mora) was a fabulous 
marine animal ; the stones in an eagle's nest are equally 



Tartarus would not fear to let the dead travel thus 
far. For, though the Thessalian witch tyrannises 
over destiny, it is doubtful whether she sees the 
lost souls because she has haled them to her cave, 
or because she has gone down to Hell herself. She 
put on motley raiment, whose parti-coloured woof 
was fit for a fiend to wear ; she threw back her hair 
and revealed her face ; and she looped up her 
bristling locks with festoons of vipers. When she 
saw that the companions of Pompeius were afraid, 
and that he himself trembled, with staring eyes and 
lifeless features, "Lay aside," she said, "the fears 
which your fluttering hearts have framed. A new 
life shall soon be restored to him — life in its familiar 
aspect, so that even those who fear can hear him 
speaking. Even if I were to display the pools of 
Styx and the bank that crackles with fire — if my 
consent should bring before your eyes the Furies, 
and Cerberus shaking his mane of snakes, and the 
chained bodies of the Giants, why dread, ye 
cowards, to behold the dead who fear me?" 

I'hen she began by piercing the breast of the 
corpse with fresh wounds, which she filled with 
hot blood ; she washed the inward parts clean of 
clotted gore ; she poured in lavishly the poison that 
the moon supplies. With this was blended all that 
Nature inauspiciously conceives and brings forth. 
The froth of dogs that dread water was not wanting, 
nor the inwards of a lynx, nor the hump of a foul 
hyena, nor the marrow of a stag that had fed on 
snakes ; the echenais ^ was there, which keeps a ship 
motionless in mid-ocean, though the wind is stretch- 
ing her cordH«re ; eyes of dragons were there, and 
stones that rattle when warmed under a breeding 



Non Arabum volucer serpens innataque rubris 

Aequoribus custos pretiosae vipera conchae 

Aut viventls adhuc Libyci membrana cerastae 

Aut cinis Eoa positi phoenicis in ara. 680 

Quo postquam viles et habentes nomina pestes 

Contulit, infando saturatas carmine frondes 

Et, quibus os dirum nascentibus inspuit, herbas 

Addidit et quidquid mundo dedit ipsa veneni. 

Turn vox Lethaeos cunctis poUentior herbis 685 

Excantare deos confundit murmura primum 

Dissona et humanae multum discordia linguae. 

Latratus habet ilia canum gemit usque luporum. 

Quod trepidus bubo, quod strix nocturna queruntur. 

Quod strident ululantque ferae, quod sibilat anguis ; 690 

Exprimit et planctus inlisae cautibus undae 

Silvarumque sonum fractaeque tonitrua nubis : 

Tot rerum vox una fuit. Mox cetera cantu 

Explicat Haemonio penetratque in Tartara lingua ; 

" Eumenides Stygiumque nefas Poenaeque nocentum 695 

Et Chaos innunieros avidum confundere mundos 

Et rector terrae, quem longa in saecula torquet 

Mors dilata deum ; Styx et quos nulla meretur 

Thessalis Elysios ; caelum matremque perosa 

Persephone nostraeque Hecates pars ultima, per quam 

Manibus et mihi sunt tacitae commercia linguae, 701 

Janitor et sedis laxae, qui viscera saevo 

Spargis nostra cani, repetitaque fila sorores 

* Persephone prefers the nether world. 

* Hecate had three forms— Luna, Diana, and Hecate ; and 
she bore the last form in the nether world. 

3 Not Cerberus, who is fed bj' the custodian, but a mysterious 
personage who occurs elsewhere. 




eagle ; the flying serpent of Arabia, and the viper 
that is born by the Red Sea and guards the precious 
pearl-shell ; the skin whicli the horned snake of 
Libya casts off in its lifetime, and ashes of the 
Phoenix which lays its body on the Eastern altar. 
These ordinary banes that bear names she added to 
her brew ; and next she put in leaves steeped with 
magic unutterable, and herbs which her own dread 
mouth had spat upon at their birth, and all the 
poison that she herself gave to the world ; and lastly 
her voice, more powerful than any drug to bewitch 
the powers of Lethe, first uttered indistinct sounds, 
sounds untunable and far different from human 
speech. The dog's bark and the wolfs howl were 
in that voice ; it resembled the complaint of the 
restless owl and the night-flying screech-owl, the 
shrieking and roaring of wild beasts, the serpent's 
hiss, the beat of waves dashing against rocks, the 
sound of forests, and the thunder that issues from 
a rift in the cloud : in that one voice all these things 
were heard. Then she went on to speak plainly in 
a Thessalian spell, with accents that went down to 
Tartarus : " I invoke the Furies, the horror of Hell, 
the punishments of the guilty, and Chaos, eager to 
blend countless worlds in ruins ; I cry to the Ruler 
of the world below, who suffers age-long pain be- 
cause gods are so slow to die ; to Styx, and Elysium 
where no Thessalian witch may enter ; to Persephone 
who shuns her mother in heaven,^ and to her, the 
third incarnation ^ of our patron, Hecate, who per- 
mits the dead and me to converse together without 
speech ; I call on the custodian ^ of the spacious 
dwelling, who casts the flesh of men to the ravening 
hound; on the Sisters, who must spin a second 



Tracturae tuque o flagrantis portitor undae, 

lam lassate senex ad me redeuntibus umbris : 705 

Exaudite preees. Si vos satis ore nefando 

Pollutoque voco, si numquam haec earmina fibris 

Humanis ieiuna cano, si pectora plena 

Saepe deo lavi calido prosecta cerebro. 

Si quia, cum vestris caput extaque lancibus infans, 710 

rnposuit victurus erat, parete precanti. 

Non in Tartareo latitantem poscimus antro 

Adsuetamque diu tenebris, modo luce fugata 

Descendentem animam ; primo palientis hiatu 

Haeret adhuc Orci, licet has exaudiat herbas, 715 

Ad manes ventura semel. Ducis omnia nato 

Pompeiana canat nostri modo militis umbra, 

Si bene de vobis civilia bella merentur." 

Haec ubi fata caput spumantiaque ora levavit, 
Aspicit astantem proiecti corporis umbram, 720 

Exanimes artus invisaque claustra timentem 
Carceris antiqui. Pavet ire in pectus apertum 
Visceraque et ruptas letali volnere fibras. 
A miser, extremum cui mortis munus inique 
Eripitur, non posse mori. Miratur Erictho, 725 

Has fatis licuisse moras, irataque morti 
Verberat inmotum vivo serpente cadaver, 
Perque cavas terrae, quas egit carmine, rimas 
Manibus inlatrat regnique silentia rumpit : 
'' Tisiphone vocisque meae secura Megaera, 730 

^ Charon. 

2 All human breasts are inhabited by the divinity. 

3 Lit. "who lately belonged to us." 



thread of life ; and on the ancient ferryman ^ of the 
fiery river, wliose arms are weary of rowing the dead 
back to me — hear ye my prayer. If these lips that 
address you have enough of horror and pollution ; 
if 1 never chant these spells when fasting from 
human flesh ; if I have often chopped up bosoms 
inhabited by the divinity, ^ and washed them with 
warm brains; if any infant would have lived 
when his head and inner organs were laid upon 
your platters — then comply with my petition. I 
ask not for one who lurks in the depths of Tartarus 
and has long been accustomed to the darkness, but 
for some soul that is just going down and leaving 
the light behind him ; he still lingers at the 
entrance of the chasm that leads to gloomy Orcus, 
and, though he obey my spells now, he will go down 
but once to the shades. Let the ghost of a Pompeian, 
who but lately was alive,^ foretell all the future 
to Pompey's son, if ye owe gratitude to the civil 

When she had spoken thus, she raised her head 
and foaming mouth, and saw beside her the ghost 
of the unburied corpse. It feared the lifeless frame 
and the hateful confinement of its former prison ; 
it shrank from entering the gaping bosom, the vital 
parts, and the flesh divided by a mortal wound. 
Hapless wretch ! unjustly robbed of death's last 
gift — the inability to die a second time. Erictho 
marvelled that fate had power to linger thus. 
Enraged with death, she lashed the passive corpse 
with a live serpent; and through the chinks into 
which the earth was split by her spells she barked 
like a dog at the siiades and burst the silence of 
their kingdom : " Tisiphone, and Megaera heedless 



Non agitis saevis Erebi per inane flagellis 
Infelicem animam ? iam vos ego nomine vero 
Eliciam Stygiasque canes in luce superna 
Destituam ; per busta sequar, per funera, custos ; 
Expellam tumulis^ abigam vos omnibus urnis. 735 

Teque deis, ad quos alio procedere voltu 
Ficta soles, Hecate pallenti tabida forma, 
Ostendam faciemque Erebi mutare vetabo. 
Eloquar, inmenso terrae sub pondere quae te 
Contineant, Hennaea, dapes, quo foedere maestum 740 
Regem noctis ames, quae te contagia passam 
Noluerit revocare Ceres. Tibi, pessime mundi 
Arbiter, inmittam ruptis Titan a cavernis, 
Et subito feriere die. Paretis ? an ille 
Conpellandus erit, quo numquam terra vocato 745 

Non concussa tremit, qui Gorgona cernit apertam 
Verberibusque suis trepidam castigat Erinyn, 
Indespecta tenet vobis qui Tartara, cuius 
Vos estis superi, Stygias qui peierat undas ? " 
Protinus astrictus caluit cruor atraque fovit 760 

Volnera et in venas extremaque membra cucurrit. 
Percussae gelido trepidant sub pectore fibrae, 
Et nova desuetis subrepens vita medullis 
Miscetur morti. Tunc omnes palpitat artus, 

^ The soul {aniina) is clearly distinct from the ghost {umbra) 
of 1. 720. 

2 Secret names, known only to Erictho. 

2 She is called JTennaea, because she was carried off from 
Henna by Pluto. Erictho here professes to know of some 
unlawful food eaten by Proserpina, and of some unlawful bond 
between her and her husband ; but all this may be invented by 
Lucan. It is impossible that he can refer here to the story of 
the pomegranate, which was universally known. 

* The order of the world's rulers is: (1) Jupiter; (2) Nep- 
tune ; (3) Pluto. 



of my voice, will you not drive with your cruel 
scourges that wretched soul ^ through the waste of 
Erebus ? Soon will I summon you forth by your 
real names,^ and leave you, hounds of Hell, helpless 
in the light of the upper world ; through graves and 
burials I shall follow you and mark you ; I shall 
drive you from tombs, and banish you from all urns 
of the dead. And you, Hecate, wasted and pale of 
aspect, who are wont to make up your face before 
you visit the gods above, I shall show you to them 
as you are and prevent you from putting off the hue 
of Hell. I shall tell the world the nature of that 
food which confines Proserpina ^ beneath the huge 
weight of earth, the bond of love that unites her to 
the gloomy king of night, and the defilement she 
suffered, such that her mother would not call her 
back. And on you, worst of the world's Rulers,* I 
shall launch the sun's light, bursting open your 
den ; and the sudden light shall blast you. Do ye 
obey me ? Or must I appeal to Him,^ at the sound 
of whose name the earth ever quakes and trembles. 
He looks on the Gorgon's head unveiled ; He lashes 
the cowering Fury with her own scourge; He 
dwells in a Tartarus beneath your view ; to Him ye 
are the gods above ; He swears by the Styx, and 
breaks his oath." — Instantly the clotted blood grew 
warm ; it warmed the livid wounds, coursing into the 
veins and the extremities of the limbs. Struck by 
it, the vital organs thrilled within the cold breast ; 
and a new life, stealing into the inward parts that 
had lost it, wrestled with death. Next, the dead 

* The mysterious deity known as Demiurgus is apparently 
used to threaten the infernal powers with. 



Tenduntur nervi ; nee se tellure cadaver 755 

Paulatim per membra levat, terraque repulsum est 

Erectumque semel. Distento lumina rictu 

Niidantur. Nondum facies viventis in illo, 

lam morientis erat ; remanet pallorque rigorque, 

Et stupet inlatus mundo. Sed murmure nullo 760 

Ora astricta sonant : vox illi linguaque tantum 

Responsura datiir. ^' Die " inquit Thessala '' magna. 

Quod iubeo, mercede mihi ; nam vera locutum 

Inmunem toto mundi praestabimus aevo 

Artibiis Haemoniis ; tali tua membra sepulchre, 765 

Talibus exuram Stygio cum carmine silvis, 

Ut nullos cantata magos exaudiat umbra. 

Sit tanti vixisse iterum : nee verba nee herbae 

Audebunt longae somnum tibi solvere Letlies 

A me morte data. Tripodas vatesque deorum 770 

Sors obscura decet : certus discedat, ab umbris 

Quisquis vera petit duraeque oracula mortis 

Fortis adit. Ne parce, precor : da nomina rebus, 

Da loca ; da vocem, qua mecum fata loquantur." 

Addidit et carmen, quo, quidquid consulit, umbram 775 

Scire dedit. Maestum fletu manante cadaver 

" Tristia non equidem Parcarum stamina " dixit 

" Aspexi tacitae revocatus ab aggere ripae ; 

Quod tamen e cunctis mihi noscere contigit umbris, 

EfFera Romanos agitat discordia manes, 780 

Inpiaque infernam ruperunt arma quietem ; 

* He had passed from the state of death to that of dying, ou 
his way to become alive. 



man quivered in every limb ; the sinews were 
strained, and he rose, not slowly or limb by limb, 
but rebounding from the earth and standing erect 
at once. His mouth gaped wide and his eyes were 
open ; he looked as if he were not yet alive but 
already like a man dying/^ The pallor and stiffness 
remained ; and he was dazed by his restoration to 
this world. The mouth was fettered and gave forth 
no sound : voice and utterance were given him but 
only for the purpose of reply. " Speak at my com- 
mand," said the witch, "and great shall be your 
reward ; for if you speak truth, I shall make you 
safe from witchcraft throughout all time. On 
such a pyre and with such fuel shall I burn your 
body, chanting a Stygian spell the while, that your 
ghost shall remain deaf to the incantation of all 
sorcerers. Consider a second life a price worth 
pa} ing for this : neither herbs nor spells will dare 
to break your long sleep of oblivion, once you receive 
death from me, A riddling answer befits the oracles 
and prophets of the gods ; but if any man seeks to 
know the truth from the dead and has courage to 
approach the oracles of stern death, let him depart 
assured. Be not grudging, I pray: give events 
their names, their places ; and provide a voice by 
which Fate may communicate with me." Then she 
added a spell, which enabled the ghost to know all 
that she asked. The dead man spoke in sorrow, 
and his tears flowed fast : " Brought back from the 
high bank of the silent river, I saw not the cruel 
Fates at their spinning ; but this I was able to learn 
from all the shades — that furious strife prevails 
among the Roman dead, and that civil war has 
shattered the peace of the infernal world. From 



Elysias Latii ^ sedes ac Tartara maesta 
Diversi liquere duces. Quid fata pararent. 
Hi fecere palam. Tristis felicibus umbris 
Voltus erat : vidi Decios, natumque patremque 785 

Lustrales bellis animas, flentemque Camillum 
Et Curios, Sullam de te, Fortuna, querentem. 
Deplorat Libycis perituram Scipio terris 
Infaustam subolem ; maior Carthaginis hostis 
Non servituri maeret Cato fata nepotis. 790 

Solum te, consul depulsis prime tyrannis 
Brute, pias inter gaudentem vidimus umbras. 
Abruptis Catilina minax fractisque catenis 
Exultat Mariique truces nudique Cethegi ; 
Vidi ego laetantes, popularia nomina, Drusos 705 

Legibus inmodicos ausosque ingentia Gracchos. 
Aeternis chalybis nodis et carcere Ditis 
Constrictae plausere manus, camposque piorum 
Poscit turba nocens. Regni possessor inertis 
Pallentes aperit sedes, abruptaque saxa 800 

Asperat et durum vinclis adamanta, paratque 
Poenam victori. Refer haec solacia tecum, 
O iuvenis, placido manes patremque domumque 
Expectare sinu regnique in parte serena 
Pompeis servare locum. Nee gloria parvae 806 

Sollicitet vitae : veniet quae misceat omnes 
Hora duces. Properate mori magnoque superbi 
Quamvis e parvis animo descendite bustis 
Et Romanorum manes calcate deorum. 
Quem tumulum Nili, quem Thybridis adluat unda, 810 
^ Latii Ilousman : alti or alii MSS. 

* The Censor who repeated the saving, delenda est Karthago. 
^ He foresaw that his descendant would kill Caesar. 

^ See note to ii. 543. 

* These are the emperors deified after death. 



opposite quarters the mightiest Romans have left 
Elysium and gloomy Tartarus ; and they have made 
clear what fate has in store. For the blessed dead 
wore a sorrowful aspect : I saw the Decii, tlie father 
and son who devoted their lives to the gods in 
battle, and Camillas, and Curius ; they all wept, 
and Sulla railed against Fortune. Scipio was 
grieved that the unhappy scion of his race should 
fall on Libyan soil ; and Cato/ a still fiercer foe of 
Carthage, lamented the death which his descendant 
prefers to slavery. Only one of the blest I saw 
rejoicing — it was Brutus,^ the first consul after the 
kings were thrown down. But formidable Catiline 
had snapped and broken his fetters, and was exult- 
ing, together with fierce Marius and Cethegus of 
the naked arm ; ^ I saw the delight of Drusus, the 
demagogue and rash legislator, and of the Gracchi, 
whose boldness knew no limit. Their hands, fet- 
tered by everlasting links ot s1?eel and by Pluto's 
prison-house, clapped for joy ; and the wicked 
claimed the plains of the blessed. The lord of that 
stagnant realm throws wide his dim abode ; he 
sharpens his steep rocks and the hard steel for 
fetters, preparing punishment for the victorious rival. 
Take back this consolation with you, Pompeius, — 
that the dead look to welcome your father and his 
family in a peaceful retreat, and are keeping a place 
for him and his in the bright portion of their 
kingdom. Let not short-lived glory trouble you : 
the hour will soon come that makes all the leaders 
equal. Make haste to die ; proud of your high 
hearts, go down from graves however humble, and 
trample on the ghosts of the gods of Rome.* By 
whose grave shall flow the Nile, and by whose the 



Quaeritur, et ducibus tantum de funere pugna est 

Tu fatum ne quaere tuum : cognoscere Parcae 

Me reticente dabunt ; tibi certior omnia vates 

Ipse canet Siculis genitor Pompeius in arvis, 

Ille quoque incertus, quo te vocet, unde repellat, 

Quas iubeat vitare plagas, quae sidera mundi. 815 

Europam, miseri, Libyamque Asiamque timete : 

Distribuit tumulos vestris fortuna triumphis. 

O miseranda domus^ toto nil orbe videbis 

Tutius Emathia." Sic postquam fata peregit, 820 

Stat voltu maestus tacito mortemque reposcit. 

Carminibus magicis opus est herbisque, cadaver 

Ut cadat, et nequeunt animam sibi reddere fata 

Consumpto iam iure semel. Tunc robore muito 

Extruit ilia rogum ; venit defunctus ad ignes. 825 

Accensa iuvenem positum strue liquit Erictho 

Tandem passa mori, Sextoque ad castra parentis 

It comes, et caelo lucis ducente colorem, 

Dum ferrent tutos intra tentoria gressus, 

lussa tenere diem densas nox praestitit umbras. 830 

1 It appears that Lucan intended to bring in Ponipey's 
ghost later ; but that part of the poem was never written. 

2 Pompey himself was murdered in l^gypt ; his elder son, 
Gnaeus, fell in Spain ; and Sextus himself was killed at" 
Miletus in Asia. Pompey had triumphed over Numidia, 
Spain, and Asia 



Tiber — that is the question ; and the battle of the 
rivals settles nothing but their place of burial. 
For yourself, enquire not concerning your destiny ; 
the Fates will enlighten you, with no words from 
me ; for your father himself, a surer prophet, will 
tell you all in the land of Sicily ; ^ and even he 
knows not whither to summon you and whence to 
warn you away, what region or clime he must 
bid you avoid. Ill-fated house ! you must fear 
Europe and Africa and Asia ; Fortune divides your 
graves among the lands you have triumphed over ; ^ 
you shall find no place in all the world less dangerous 
than Pharsalia." — When he had ended thus his 
prophecy, he stood still in silence and sorrow, de- 
manding to die once more. Spells and drugs were 
needed before the corpse could die ; and death, 
having exerted all its power already, could not 
claim the life again. Then the witch built up a 
great pyre of wood ; the dead man walked to the 
fire ; and Erictho left him stretched upon the 
lighted pile, and suffered him at last to die. 
Together with Sextus she went to his father's 
camp. The sky was now taking on the hue of 
dawn ; but, at her bidding, night held back day 
and gave them thick darkness until they should set 
foot in safety within the encampment. 




Segnior, Oceano quam lex aeterna vocabat, 
Luctificus Titan numquam magis aethera contra 
Egit equos cursumque polo rapiente retorsitj 
Defectusque pati voluit raptaeque labores 
Lucis, et attraxit nubes, non pabula flammis, 5 

Sed ne Thessalico purus luceret in orbe. 
At nox felicis Magno pars ultima vitae 
Sollicitos vana decepit imagine somnos. 
Nam Pompeiani visus sibi sede theatri 
Innumeram effigiem Romanae cernere plebis 10 

Attollique suum laetis ad sidera noraen 
Vocibus et plausu cuneos certare sonantes ; 
Qualis erat populi facies clamorque faventis 
Olim, cum iuvenis primique aetate triumphi 
Post domitas gentes, quas torrens ambit Hiberus, 15 
Et quaecumque fugax Sertorius inpulit arma, 
Vespere pacato, pura venerabilis aeque 
Quam currus ornante toga, plaudente senatu, 
Sedit adhuc Romanus eques : seu fine bonorum 

* The ancients believed that the sun's own motion across the 
sky was from West to East, but that the sky itself revolvedl 
from East to West at a greater rate and so carried the sun] 
with it. 

* Lucan is mistaken: Pompey triumphed three times : (\)\ 
over Numidia in 81 B.C. ; (2} over Spain in 71 ; (3) over Asia] 




Unpunctual to the summons of eternal law, the 
sorrowing Sun rose from Ocean, driving his steeds 
harder than ever against the revolution of the sky, 
and urging his course backwards, though the heavens 
whirled him on ;^ fain would he have suffered eclipse 
and the pain of losing his light ; and he drew clouds 
towards him, not to feed his flames, but to prevent 
him from shining unsullied in the region of Thessaly. 

That night, the end of happiness in the life of 
Magnus, beguiled his troubled sleep with a hollow 
semblance. He dreamed that he was sitting in his 
own theatre and saw in a vision the countless 
multitudes of Rome ; and that his name was lifted 
to the sky in their shouts of joy, while all the tiers 
vied in proclaiming his praise. Such was the aspect 
of the people, sucli was their loud applause, in his 
distant youth, at the time of his first ^ triumph : 
he had conquered the clans surrounded by the swift 
Hiberus, and defeated every force that Sertorius had 
hurled against him in guerilla warfare ; he had 
given peace to the West, and now he sat and was 
cheered by senators, himself no more as yet than 
a Roman knight, but no less worshipped in his 

in 61. In 71 he was still an eques, but he began his first 
consulship on January 1st, 70. 

VOL. I. V 


Anxia Venturis ad tempora laeta refugit, 20 

Sive per ambages soiitas contraria visis 

Vaticinata quies magni tulit omina planctus, 

Seu vetito patrias ultra tibi camera sedes 

Sic Romam Fortuna dedit. Na rumpite somnos, 

Castrorum vigilas, nullas tuba verberat auras. 26 

Crastina dira quies at imagine maesta diurna 

Undique funestas acies feret, undique bellum. 

Unda pares somnos populis noctemque beatam? 

O falix, si ta val sic tua Roma videret I 

Donassent utinam superi patriaeque tibique 30 

Unum, Magne, diem, quo fati certus uterque 

Extramum tanti fructum raparetis amoris. 

Tu valut Ausonia vadis moriturus in urbe. 

Ilia rati semper de te sibi conscia voti 

Hoc scelus baud umquam fatis haerere putavit, 36 

Sic se dilecti turaulum quoque perdera Magni. 

Ta mixto flasset luctu iuvenisque senexque 

Iniussusque puer ; lacerasset crine soluto 

Pectora famineum, cau Bruti funera, volgus. 

Nunc quoque, tela licet paveant victoris iniqui, 40 

Nuntiet ipse licet Caesar tua funera, flebunt. 

Sad dum tura ferunt, dum laurea sarta Tonanti. 

* populi here must stand for the Roman people or the 
Italians : comp. i. 511. pares is adjective, not a verb. 


plain robe of white than in that which adorns the 
triumphal car. Perhaps his dreams took refuge in 
happier days because they feared the future and 
because prosperity was ended ; perhaps sleep in- 
directly, as her custom is, presaged the opposite of 
his dream and foretold a great lamentation ; or else 
Fortune brought Rome before him thus, because it 
was ordained that he should never see his home 
again. Break not his sleep, watchmen of the camp ; 
let no trumpet beat upon his ear. To-morrow 
his sleep will be haunted : saddened by visions of 
the day, it will present nothing but the fatal field, 
nothing but war. Would that the Romans^ could 
have had a night of happiness and such a sleep 
as his ! Fortunate had been the Rome he loved, 
if she had seen him even in a dream. One day 
at least the gods should have granted to him and 
to his country, on which each, with full knowledge of 
the future, might have snatched the last enjoyment 
of their great love for one another. He goes 
forth, believing that he is destined to die at Rome ; 
and Rome, knowing that her prayers for him had 
always been answered, refused to believe that this 
horror was written in the book of destiny — that she 
should thus lose even the grave of her beloved 
Magnus. Young and old, blending their grief, 
would have mourned for him, and even children 
uncompelled ; the crowd of women would have let 
down their hair and torn their breasts, as when 
Brutus was buried. Even as it is, though men 
dread the arms of the tyrannous conqueror, though 
Caesar himself announce the death, weep they will, 
even while oifering incense and laurel wreaths to 
the Thunderer. Unhappy Romans ! whose groans 



O miseri, quorum gemitus edere dolorem. 
Qui te non pleno pariter planxere theatre. 

Vicerat astra iubar, cum mixto murmure turba 
Castrorum fremuit fatisque trahentibus orbem 
Signa petit pugnae. Miseri pars maxima volgi 
Non totum visura diem tentoria circum 
Ipsa ducis queritur magnoque accensa tumultu 
Mortis vicinae properantes admovet horas. 
Dira subit rabies ; sua quisque ac publica fata 
Praecipitare cupit ; segnis pavidusque vocatur 
Ac nimium patiens soceri Pompeius, et orbis 
Indulgens regno, qui tot simul undique gentes 
luris habere sui vellet pacemque timeret. 
Nee non et reges populique queruntur Eoi 
Bella tralii patriaque procul tellure teneri. 
Hoc placet, o superi, cum vobis veitere cuncta 
Propositum, nostris erroribus addere crimen ? 
Cladibus inruimus nocituraque poscimus anna ; 
In Pompeianis votura est Pliarsalia castris. 
Cunctorum voces Romani maximus auctor 
Tullius eloquii, cuius sub iure togaque 
Pacificas saevus tremuit Catilina secures, 
Pertulit iratus bellis, cum rostra forumque 
Optaret, passus tam longa silentia miles. 
Addidit invalidae robur facundia causae. 

" Hoc pro tot meritis solum te, Magne, precatur 
Uti se Foituna velis, proceresque tuorum 

1 Cicero was not really present at Pharsalia : we have Livy's| 
authority for this. 



swallowed down their grief, and who could not 
all together make lamentation for Pompey in the 
crowded theatre. 

Sunshine had conquered the stars when the soldiery 
raged with confused muttering and demanded the 
signal for battle ; Fortune was haling the world to 
destruction. Most of that hapless throng were fated 
not to see the day out ; but they crowded close 
to the leader's tent and murmured ; in heat and 
great disorder they brought nearer the hasting hour 
of imminent death. A dreadful frenzy comes over 
them ; each is eager to hurry on his own fate and 
the fate of his country. They call Pompey slow 
and cowardly and too indulgent to his kinsman ; 
he is seduced, say they, by the sovereignty of the 
world ; he wishes to keep under his own sway so 
many nations from every quarter ; and he dreads a 
peace. The kings and peoples of the East also 
complain that the campaign drags on too long, and 
that they are detained far from their own countries. 
Ye gods, when it is your set purpose to ruin 
all things, does it please you to add guilt on our 
part to mere mistakes? We rush upon disaster, 
and clamour for battle that will destroy us ; and in 
Pompey's camp men pray for Pharsalia. The pro- 
tests of the multitude were conveyed by Cicero, 
the chief model of Roman eloquence, Cicero,^ be- 
neath whose civilian authority fierce Catiline dreaded 
the axes of peace. Longing for the rostrum and 
the Forum, and muzzled so long by military service, 
he detested war. His eloquence gave force to 
an unsound argument. 

" Magnus, in return for all her favours Fortune 
makes one request of you — that you will deign to 



Castrorum regesque tui cum supplice mundo 

Adfusi, vinci socerum patiare rogamus. 

Humani generis tam longo tempore bellum 

Caesar erit ? merito Pompeium vincere lente 

Gentibus indignum est a transcurrente subactis. 

Quo tibi fervor abit aut quo fiducia fati ? 

De superis, ingrate, times causamque senatus 

Credere dis dubitas ? ipsae tua signa revellent 

Prosilientque acies : pudeat vicisse coactum. 

Si duce te iusso, si nobis bella geruntur, 

Sit iuris, quocumque velint, concurrere campo. 

Quid mundi gladios a sanguine Caesaris arces ? 

Vibrant tela manus, vix signa morantia quisquam 

Expectat : propera, te ne tua classica linquant. 

Scire senatus avet, miles te, Magne, sequatur 

An comes." Ingemuit rector sensitque deorum 

Esse dolos et fata suae contraria menti. 

" Si placet hoc " inquit " cunctis, si milite Magno, 

Non duce tempus eget, nil ultra fata morabor : 

Involvat populos una fortuna ruina, 

Sitque hominum magnae lux ista novissima parti. 

Testor, Roma, tamen Magnum, quo cuncta perirent, 

Accepisse diem. Potuit tibi volnere nullo 



make use of her ; and we, the chief men of your 
army, and the kings you made, together with the 
whole world upon its knees, now prostrate ourselves 
at your feet and ask that you will consent to the 
conquest of your father-in-law. Shall Caesar remain 
for ever the cause of war to mankind? Nations 
whom Pompey subdued while he hurried past them 
have a right to resent his slowness to conquer now. 
What has become of your eager haste, or of your 
confidence in your star ? Are you ungrateful enough 
to doubt Heaven's favour ? Do you hesitate to 
trust the cause of the Senate to the gods? The 
soldiery, of their own accord, will wrench up your 
standards and rush forward ; you should blush to 
have victory forced upon you. If we have appointed 
you to lead us, and if the war is waged for our 
benefit, then let the men have leave to fight on 
whatever field they will. Why do you keep away 
the swords of all mankind from Caesar's throat? 
Arms are brandished, and scarce can any man bear 
to wait for the lagging signal ; make haste, or else 
your own trumpets will leave you behind. The 
senators would fain know this, Magnus, whether 
they follow you in order to fight or merely to escort 
you where you go." The leader groaned : he per- 
ceived that the gods were playing him false, and that 
destiny was thwarting his purpose. "If this," said 
he, "is the desire of all, and if the crisis needs 
me, not as a commander but as a soldier, I will 
keep doom at bay no longer. Let Fortune whelm 
the nations in a single overthrow, and let yonder 
light be the last for half mankind. At least I call 
Rome to witness that the day of universal destruc- 
tion has been forced upon me. The toil of war 



Stare labor belli ; potui sine caede subactum 

Captivumque dueem violatae tradere paci. 

Quis furor, o caeci, scelerum ? Civilia bella 96 

Gesturi metuunt, ne non cum sanguine vineant. 

Abstuliraus terras, exclusimus aequore toto. 

Ad praematuras segetum ieiuna rapinas 

Agmina conpulimus, votumque efFecimus hosti, 

Ut mallet sterni gladiis mortemque suorum loo 

Permiscere meis. Belli pars magna peracta est 

His, qiiibus effectum est, ne pugnam tiro paveret. 

Si modo virtutis stimulis iraeque calore 

Signa petunt. Multos in summa pericula misit 

Venturi timor ipse mali. Fortissimus ille est, 105 

Qui promptus metuenda pati, si comminus instent, 

Et differre potest. Placet haec tam prospera rerum 

Tradere fortunae, gladio permittere mundi 

Discrimen ; pugnare ducem, quam vincere, malunt. 

Res mihi Romanas dederas, Fortuna, regendas ; 110 

Accipe maiores et caeco in Marte tuere. 

Pompei nee crimen erit nee gloria bellum. 

Vincis apud superos votis me, Caesar, iniquis : 

Pugnatur. Quantum scelerum quantumque malorum 

In populos lux ista feret ! quot regna iacebunt ! 115 

Sanguine Romano quam turbidus ibit EnipeusI 

Prima velim caput hoc funesti lancea belli. 

Si sine momento rerum partisque ruina 



might have cost Rome no bloodshed ; I might have 
won a bloodless victory over Caesar and handed him 
over, a captive, to the peace he has outraged. 
What guilty madness, what blindness is this ! Men 
about to wage civil war are actually afraid of winning 
a bloodless victory. We have wrenched the land 
from the enemy, and expelled him utterly from 
the sea ; we have forced his starving ranks to snatch 
the corn ere it was ripe ; we have made him pray 
to fall rather by the sword and to mingle the corpses 
of his soldiers with the corpses of mine. By the 
strategy, thanks to which my recruits have no fear 
of battle, the campaign is half won already, if 
indeed the spur of valour and the heat of pugnacity 
make them demand the signal for action. But 
many are driven to utmost peril by the mere dread 
of coming danger. He is truly brave, who is both 
quick to endure the ordeal, if it be close and 
pressing, and willing also to let it wait. It is 
resolved to hand over our present prosperous con- 
dition to chance, and to let the sword decide the 
doom of the world ; men had rather see their leader 
fight than conquer. Fortune gave me the Roman 
State to rule ; I give it back now greater than I 
received it, and I call upon her to guard it in the 
hurly-burly of war. The act of fighting will never 
bring either reproach or glory to me. In the court 
of Heaven Caesar's prayers for evil prevail over me; 
and battle there is to be. How much crime and 
how much suffering this day will bring to the 
nations! How many thrones will be upset! How 
dark the Enipeus will flow with Roman blood I The 
first missile hurled in this fatal war is welcome to 
find its billet in my head, if that head could fall 



Casurum est, feriat ; neque enim victoria Magno 

Laetior. Aut populis invisum hac clade peracta 120 

Aut hodie Pompeius erit miserabile nomen : 

Omne malum victi, quod sors feret ultima rerum, 

Omne nefas victoris erit." Sic fatur et arma 

Permittit populis frenosque furentibus ira 

Laxat et ut victus violento navita Coro 125 

Dat regimen ventis ignavumque arte relicta 

Puppis onus trahitur. Trepido confusa tumultu 

Castra fremunt, animique truces sua pectora pulsant 

Ictibus incertis. Multorum pallor in ore 

Mortis venturae faciesque simillima fato. 130 

Advenisse diem, qui fatum rebus in aevum 

Conderet Immanis, et quaeri, Roma quid esset, 

Illo Marte palam est. Sua quisque pericula nescit 

Attonitus maiore metu. Quis litora ponto 

Obruta, quis summis cernens in montibus aequor 136 

Aetheraque in terras deiecto sole cadentem, 

Tot rerum finem, timeat sibi ? non vacat ullos 

Pro se ferre metus : urbi Magnoque timetur. 

Nee gladiis habuere fidem, nisi cautibus asper 

Exarsit mucro ; tunc omnis lancea saxo 140 

Erigitur, tendunt nervis melioribus arcus, 

Cura fuit lectis pharetras inplere sagittis. 

Auget eques stimulos frenorumque artat habenas. 

^ The conqueror, whether Pompey or Caesar, must inevitably 
inflict cruelties on the defeated array, and will therefore be 



without influence on the issue and without the 
destruction of our cause ; for to me victory is no 
more welcome than defeat. When to-day's carnage 
is complete, the name of Pompey will be one for 
the world either to hate or to pity : every woe that 
utter ruin brings will the vanquished suffer, and 
every horror will the conqueror commit." ^ With 
these words he suffers the nations to arm, and 
gave a loose to their frenzied passion ; so the sailor, 
when mastered by the fury of the gale, makes no 
use of his skill, but leaves the steering to the winds, 
and is swept along, an ignominious burden of his 
vessel. The camp hums with the confusion of haste 
and disorder, and fierce hearts beat with irregular 
throbbing against the breasts that contain them. 
The pale flag of coming death appeared on many 
faces ; and their aspect was the very picture of 
doom. It was clear to all that a day had come 
which must settle the destiny of mankind for ages, 
and that this battle must decide what Rome was to 
be. Each man ignores his personal danger, appalled 
by a mightier fear. Who that saw the shore covered 
by the sea and the waves reaching the mountain- 
tops, the sky falling down upon the earth and the 
sun dashed from his place, could regard with selfish 
fear such wide destruction } Men's minds are not 
at leisure to fear for themselves : they tremble for 
Rome and for Magnus. The soldiers put no trust in 
their swords, unless the whetted points struck 
fire from the grindstone ; every lance too was 
sharpened against the stone, bows were strung with 
better cords, and care was taken to fill the quivers 
with picked arrows. The horseman enlarged his 
spurs and tightened the straps of his bridle. Even 



Si liceat superis hominum conferre labores, 

Non aliter Phlegra rabidos tollente gigantas 145 

Martius incaluit Siculis incudibus ensis, 

Et rubuit flammis iterum Neptunia cuspis, 

Spiculaque extenso Paean Pythone recoxit, 

Pallas Gorgoneos difFudit in aegida crines, 

Pallenaea lovi mutavit fulmina Cyclops. 150 

Non tamen abstinuit venturos prodere casus 
Per varias Fortuna notas. Nam, Thessala rura 
Cum peterent, totus venientibus obstitit aether 
Adversasque faces inmensoque igne columnas 155 

Et trabibus mixtis avidos typhonas aquarum 
Detulit atque oculos ingesto fulgure clausit ; 
Excussit cristas galeis capulosque solutis 
Perfudit gladiis ereptaque pila liquavit, 
Aetherioque nocens fumavit sulpure ferrum ; 160 

Vixque revolsa solo maiori pondere pressum 
Signiferi mersere caput rorantia fletu 
Usque ad Thessaliam Romana et publica signa. 
Admotus superis discussa fugit ab ara 165 

Taurus et Emathios praeceps se iecit in agros, 
Nullaque funestis inventa est victima sacris. 
(At tu, quos scelerum superos, quas rite vocasti 
Eumenidas, Caesar ? Stygii quae numina regni 
Infernumque nefas et mersos nocte furores 170 

Inpia tarn saeve gesturus bella litasti ?) 
lam (dubium, monstrisne deum nimione pavori 

^ Pallene is used as a synonym for Phlegra. 


so, if it is permissible to compare the activity of 
men to that of gods — even so, when Phlegra up- 
reared the furious Giants, the sword of Mars was 
heated on the anvils of Etna ; the trident of Neptune 
glowed in the flame a second time ; Apollo smelted 
again the arrows which had unwound the coils of 
Python ; Pallas scattered the Gorgon tresses over all 
her aegis ; and the Cyclopes made for Jupiter new 
thunderbolts for use at Pallene.^ 

Fortune, however, did not forbear from revealing 
the future by means of divers signs. When the 
army made for Thessaly, the whole sky set itself 
against their march : it hurled down meteors in 
their faces, and huge columns of fire, and whirlwinds 
that suck up water, together with fireballs ; it dashed 
lightning at them and so closed their eyes ; it 
knocked the crests off their helmets, it flooded the 
scabbards with the molten blades, it tore the javelins 
from their grasp and fused them ; and the guilty 
sword smoked with the sulphur of the sky. The 
standards could scarce be plucked out of the ground ; 
their increased weight bowed down the head of the 
standard-bearer ; and they shed tears— -down to the 
time of Pharsalia they belonged to Rome and to 
the State. A bull, when brought forward for sacrifice, 
upset the altar and fled, rushing headlong into the 
fields of Thessaly ; and no victim was forthcoming 
for the ill-omened rite. (But Caesar — what powers 
of darkness, what fiends did he invoke without let 
or hindrance .'' what deities of the Stygian realm, 
what Horror of Hell, and Madness shrouded in 
gloom ? Though he was soon to fight an infamous 
battle with such cruelty, his prayer was heard.) 
Whether men were convinced by divine portents or 



Crediderint) multis concurrere visus Olympo 

Pindus et abruptis mergi convallibus Haemus, 

Edere nocturnas belli Pharsalia voces, 176 

Ire per Ossaeam rapid us Boebeida sanguis ; 

Inque vicem voltus tenebris mirantur opertos 

Et pallere diem galeisque incumbere noctem 

Defunctosque patres et iuncti^ sanguinis umbras 

Ante oculos volitare suos. Sed mentibus unum 180 

Hoc solamen erat, quod voti turba nefandi 

Conscia, quae patrum iugulos, quae pectora fratrum 

Sperabat, gaudet monstris mentisque tumultum 

Atque omen scelerum subitos putat esse furores. 

Quid mirum, populos, quos lux extrema manebat, 185 
Lymphato trepidasse metu, praesaga malorum 
Si data mens homini est ? Tyriis qui Gadibus hospes 
Adiacet Armeniumque bibit Romanus Araxen, 
Sub quocumque die, quocumque est sidere mundi, 
Maeret et ignorat causas animumque dolentem 19U 

Corripit, Emathiis quid perdat nescius arvis. 
Euganeo, si vera fides memorantibus, augur 
Colle sedens, Aponus terris ubi fumifer exit 
Atque Antenorei dispergitur unda Timavi, 
" Venit summa dies, geritur res maxima," dixit 193 

" Inpia concurrunt Pompei et Caesaris arma," 
Seu tonitrus ac tela lovis praesaga notavit, 
Aethera seu totum discordi obsistere caelo 

* iuncti Heinsi us : cuncti (-is, -&&) MSS. 

^ Gains Cornelius was the augur, and the place was Patavium 
(Padua). This case of telepathy was vouched for by Livy, 
himself a native of Patavium ; see Plutarch, Caesar^ o. 47. 



their own excessive terror, who can tell ? But many 
also believed that they saw Pindus collide with 
Olympus, and the Balkan subside in precipitous 
hollows, while Pharsalia sent forth the din of battle 
by night, and a torrent of blood spread over lake 
Boebeis beside Ossa. Men gaze with wonder at 
each other's faces veiled with darkness, at the 
dimness of the light, at the blackness that brooded 
over the helmets, at the ghosts that moved to and 
fro before their sight — ghosts of parents dead and 
of kindred. But their souls had this one solace : 
the host, conscious of their own horrible desire, 
and hoping to pierce a father's throat or a brother's 
bosom, took pleasure in the portents, believing that 
the ferment of their minds and their sudden madness 
boded success to their crimes. 

If the power to presage misfortune has been 
granted to mankind, what wonder that those whose 
last day was at hand quaked with panic fear? 
Whether he be a sojourner by Tyrian Gades or drink 
of the Araxes in Armenia, whatever his clime and 
whatever the star of heaven beneath which he lives 
— every Roman grieves and knows not why and 
chides himself for his sadness ; for he knows not 
what loss he is sufferini? now in the land of Thessaly. 
If those who tell the tale may be believed, an augur ^ 
sat that day on the Euganean hills, where the 
smoking spring of Aponus issues from the ground 
and the Timavus, river of Antenor, splits into 
channels ; and he cried : " The decisive day has 
come ; the great battle is being fought ; the armies 
of Pompey and Caesar meet in unnatural conflict." 
Either he observed the thunder and the warning 
bolts of Jupiter ; or he saw that all the firmament 



Perspexitque polos^ seu numen in aethere maestum 

Solis in obscuro pUgnam pallore notavit. 200 

Dissimilem certe cunctis quos explicat egit 

Thessalicum natura diem : si cuncta perito 

Augure mens hominum caeli nova signa notasset, 

Spectari toto potuit Pharsalia mundo. 

O summos hominum^ quorum fortuna per orbem 206 

Signa dedit, quorum fatis caelum omne vacavit ! 

Haec et apud seras gentes populosque nepotum, 

Sive sua tantum venient in saecula fama, 

Sive aliquid magnis nostri quoque cura laboris 

Nominibus prodesse potest, cum bella legentur, 210 

Spesque metusque simul perituraque vota movebunt, 

Attonitique omnes veluti venientia fata, 

Non transmissa, legent et adhuc tibi, Magne, favebunt. 

Miles, ut adverso Phoebi radiatus ab ictu 
Descendens totos perfudit lumine colics, 216 

Noil temere inmissus campis : stetit ordine certo 
Infelix acies. Cornus tibi cura sinistri, 
Lentule, cum prima, quae tum fuit optima bello, 
Et quarta legione datur. Tibi, numine pugnax 
Adverso Domiti, dextri frons tradita Martis. 220 

At medii robur belli fortissima densant 
Agmina, quae Cilicum terris deducta tenebat 
Scipio, miles in hoc, Libyco dux primus in orbe. 
At iuxta fluvios et stagna undantis Enipei 
Cappadocum montana cohors et largus habenae 225 

* After Pompey's death. 


and the poles were at strife with the warring 
sky ; or else the sorrowing deity in heaven signified 
tiie battle by the dimness and obscurity of the sun. 
At least it is certain that Nature made the day of 
Pliarsalia pass unlike all other days which she 
reveals ; if hiunan intelligence, by means of skilled 
augurs, had observed all the strange signs in heaven, 
then the battle might have been watched all the 
world over. How great were these men, whose 
fortunes were advertised over the whole world, and 
to whose destiny all heaven was attentive ! Even 
in later ages and among posterity, these events, 
whether their own fame alone immortalises them or 
I too, by my pains and study, can do some service to 
famous men, will excite hope and fear together and 
useless prayers, when the story of battle is read; 
and all men will be spell-bound as they read the 
tragedy, as if it were still to come and not past ; and 
all will still take sides with Magnus. 

When the soldiers came down, lighted up by the 
sunbeams facing them, the glitter of their arms 
flooded all the hills. They were not launched at 
random upon the plain : the doomed army was 
stationed according to a definite plan. Lentulus 
had charge of the left wing with two legions— the 
first, which was then the most fit for war, and the 
fourth ; the right wing of the host was entrusted to 
Domitius, that brave but ill-starred warrior. The 
main strength of the centre was in the close 
ranks of brave men whom Scipio, their general, had 
brought from Cilicia ; here he was but a combatant 
but was yet to hold the chief command in Africa,^ 
Then by the channel of the Enipeus and the pools 
of its overflow rode tlie horsemen of the Cappadocian 



Ponticus ibat eques. Sicci sed plurima campi 

Tetrarchae regesque tenent magnique tyranni 

Atque omnis Latio quae servit purpura ferro. 

Illuc et Libye Numidas et Creta Cydonas 

Misitj Ityraeis cursus fuit inde sagittis, 230 

Inde, truce? Galli, solitum prodistis in hostem, 

Illic pugnaces commovit Hiberia caetras. 

Eripe victori gentes et sanguine raundi 

Fuso, Magne, semel totos consume triumphos. 

Illo forte die Caesar statione relicta 235 

Ad segetum raptus moturus signa repente 
Conspicit in pianos hostem descendere campos, 
Oblatumque videt votis sibi mille petitum 
Tempus, in extremos quo mitteret omnia casus. 
Aeger quippe morae flagransque cupidine regni 240 

Coeperat exiguo tractu civilia bella 
Ut lentum damnare nefas. Discrimina postquam 
Adventare ducum supremaque proelia vidit, 
Casuram et fatis sensit nutare ruinam. 
Ilia quoque in ferrum rabies proraptissima paulum 246 
Languit, et casus audax spondere secundos 
Mens stetit in dubio, quam nee sua fata timere 
Nee Magni sperare sinunt. Formidine mersa 
Prosilit hortando melior fiducia volgo, 
" O domitor mundi, rerum fortuna mearum, 260 

Miles, adest totiens optatae copia pugnae. 



hills and the riders of Pontus with loose reins. Of 
the dry ground most was occupied by the tetrarchs 
and kings and mighty potentates, and all wearers 
of the purple who bow before the Roman steel. 
Thither Libya sent Numidians, and Crete her 
Cydonians ; from there the arrows of the Ituraeans 
took their flight ; from there the fierce Gauls went 
forth against their familiar foe ; and there the 
Spaniards brandished their shields for battle. Let 
Magnus rob the conqueror of the subject i)eoples 
and use up on one day all the means of future 
triumphs by shedding the blood of all mankind ! 

It happened on that day that Caesar had left his 
position, and was about to march his men to plunder 
the cornfields, when suddenly he saw his enemy 
come down to the level plains. Before him lay the 
opportunity he had prayed for a thousand times — 
the opportunity of staking all his fortunes on a final 
cast. For sick of delay and burrnng with desire for 
a regal throne, he had begun to loathe the short 
space of the civil war as a crime which took too long 
in the doing. But when he saw that the ordeal 
of the rivals and the decisive battle was drawing 
near, and when he perceived that the crash which 
fate must bring was nodding to its fall, even that 
wild desire for instant slaughter waxed faint for a 
time ; his heart, ever ready to vouch for victory, 
hesitated now : how was fear possible, when he 
viewed his own career? how was hope, when he 
thought of Pompey's .'' Fear sank down, and bold- 
ness sprang forth — a better means for inspiriting 
his men : " Soldiers, who have conquered the world, 
and on whom my destiny depends, behold the chance 
of battle you have so often prayed for. Prayer is 



Nil opus est votis, iam fatum accersite ferro. 
In manibus vestris, quantus sit Caesar, habetis. 
Haec est ilia dies, milii quam Rubiconis ad undas 
Promissam memini, cuius spe movimus arma, 255 

In quam distulimus vetitos remeare triumph os, 
Haec, fato quae teste probet, quis iustius arma 
Sumpserit ; haec acies victum factura nocentem est. 260 
"Si pro me patriam ferro flammisque petistis, 
Nunc pugnate truces gladioque exsolvite culpam : 
Nulla manus, belli mutato iudice, pura est. " 
Non mihi res agitur, sed, vos ut libera sitis 
Turba, precor gentes ut ius habeatis in omnes, 265 

Ipse ego privatae cupidus me reddere vitae 
Plebeiaque toga modicum conponere civem. 
Omnia dum vobis liceant, nihil esse recuso. 
Invidia regnate mea. Nee sanguine multo 
Spem mundi petitis : Grais delecta iuventus 270 

Gymnasiis aderit studioque ignava palaestrae 
Et vix arma ferens, aut mixtae dissona turbae 
Barbaries, non ilia tubas, non agmine moto 
Clamorem latura suum. Civilia paucae 
Bella man us facient; pugnae pars magna levabit 276 
His orbem populis Romanumque obteret hostem. 
Ite per ignavas gentes famosaque regna 
Et primo ferri motu prosternite mundum, 


no longer needed ; with your swords you must now 
summon fate. The greatness of Caesar is yours 
to determine. That day has come, which, as I 
remember, you promised me by the waters of the 
Rubicon, the day which encouraged us to take up 
arms, the day to which we postponed the triumphant 
return denied us ; and this day must decide, on the 
evidence of destiny, which of the two combatants 
had justice on his side : this battle will pronounce 
the guilt of him who lose;s it. If in defence of me 
you have attacked your native land with fire and 
sword, fight fiercely to-day and use your swords to 
clear your guilt. Not one of you has guiltless hands, 
if I be no longer the judge of war. It is not my 
fortunes that are at stake : my prayer is for you — 
that you, for your freedom's sake, may bear rule 
over all nations. My own desire is to return to 
private life, to wear the people's dress, and to play 
the part of an ordinary citizen ; but provided you 
are all-powerful, I am willing to accept any position ; 
yours be the kingly power, mine the discredit! 
Nor will the world you hope to win cost you much 
bloodshed : you will meet an army enlisted from 
the training-schools of Greece, enfeebled by the 
practice of the wrestling-ground, and scarce able 
to carry the weight of their arms ; or else barbarians 
with disordered ranks and discordant tongues, who 
will not endure the sound of the trumpet or even 
the noise of their own march. Few of you will lift 
their hands against Romans : most of the fighting 
will rid the world of inferior races and crush under- 
foot the enemies of Rome. Make your way through 
these cowardly nations and kingdoms of evil fame ; 
lay a whole world low with the first stroke of the 



Sitque palam, quas tot duxit Pompeius in urbem 

Curribus, unius gentes non esse triumphi. 280 

Armeniosne movet, Romana potentia cuius 

Sit ducis ? aut emptum minimo volt sanguine quisquam 

Barbarus Hesperiis Magnum praeponere rebus? 

Romanos odere omnes, dominosque gravantur, 

Quos novere, magis. Sed me fortuna meorum 286 

Commisit manibus, quarum me Gallia testem 

Tot fecit bellis. Cuius non militis ensem 

Agnoscam? caelumque tremens cum lancea transit, 

Dicel'e non fallar, quo sit vibrata lacerto. 

Quod si, signa ducem numquam fallentia vestrum, 290 

Conspicio faciesque truces oculosque minaces, 

Vicistis. Videor fluvios spectare cruoris 

Calcatosque simul reges sparsumque senatus 

Corpus et inmensa populos in caede natantes. 

Sed mea fata moror, qui vos in tela furentes 295 

Vocibus his teneo. Veniam date bella trahenti : 

Spe trepido ; baud umquam vidi tam magna daturos 

Tam prope me superos ; camporum limite parvo 

Absumus a votis. Ego sum, cui Marte peracto. 

Quae populi regesque tenent, donare licebit. 300 

Quone poli motu, quo caeli sidere verso 

Thessalicae tantum, superi, permittitis orae? 

Aut merces hodie bellorum aut poena parata. 

Caesareas spectate cruces, spectate catenas 

Et caput iioc positum rostris eiiusaque membra 305 



steel ; reveal to all that the peoples who so often 
followed Pompey's triumphal car to Rome are not 
material enough for even a single triumph. Do the 
Armenians care which among rivals has power at 
Rome ? Or would any barbarian give a drop of his 
blood in order to set Magnus over Italy ? They 
hate all Romans and resent their domination ; but 
they hate most the Romans they know. But me 
Fortune has entrusted to the hands of my own 
soldiers ; and full many a war in Gaul made me 
the witness of their prowess. I shall know again 
the sword of every fighter ; and when the lance flies 
quivering through the sky, I shall make no mistake 
in naming the arm that hurled it. But if I see 
those tokens that never play your leader false — fierce 
countenances and threatening eyes — then victory is 
yours. Methinks I see rivers of blood, kings trodden 
under foot together, mangled bodies of senators, 
and whole nations weltering in unlimited carnage. 
But I delay the course of my destiny, when these 
words of mine detain you — you who are frantic for 
the fray. Pardon me for putting off the battle ; my 
hopes unsettle me ; never have I seen the gods so 
near me and ready to give so much ; only a little 
strip of land divides us from all we pray for. I am 
the man, who, when the fighting is over, will have 
power to give away all that now belongs to nations 
and kings. What shift has taken place in the sky, 
what star in heaven has suffered change, that the 
gods grant such a privilege to Thessaly.'' To-day 
either the reward or the penalty of war is before us. 
Picture to yourselves the cross and the chains in 
store for Caesar, my head stuck upon the Rostrum 
and my limbs unburied ; think of the crime of the 



Saeptorumque nefas et clausi proelia Campi. 

Cum jduce Sullano gerimus civilia bella. 

Vestri cura movet ; nam me secura manebit 

Sors quaesita manu : fodientem viscera cernet 

Me mea, qui nondum victo respexerit hoste. 310 

Di, quorum curas abduxit ab aethere tellus 

Romanusque labor, vincat, quicumque necesse 

Non putat in victos saevum destringere ferrum 

Quique suos elves, quod signa adversa tulerunt, 

Non credit fecisse nefas. Pompeius in arto 315 

Agmina vestra loco vetita virtute moveri 

Cum tenuit, quanto satiavit sanguine ferrum ! 

Vos tamen hoc oro, iuvenes, ne caedere quisquam 

Hostis terga velit : civis, qui fugerit, esto. 

Sed dum tela micant, non vos pietatis imago 320 

Ulla nee adversa conspecti fronte parentes 

Commoveant ; voltus gladio turbate verendos. 

Sive quis infesto cognata in pectora ferro 

Ibit, seu nullum violarit volnere pignus, 

Ignoti iugulum tamquam scelus inputet hostis. 325 

Sternite iam vallum fossasque inplete ruina. 

Exeat ut plenis acies non sparsa maniplis. 

Pareite ne castris : vallo tendetis in illo, 

Unde acies peritura venit." Vix cuncta locuto 

Caesare quemque suum munus trahit, armaque raptim 330 

Sumpta Ceresque viris. Capiunt praesagia belli 

Calcatisque ruunt castris ; slant ordine nullo, 

^ The Saepta (enclosure), called Ovilia (sheepfold) in ii. 197. 
was in the Campus Martins ; and there Sulla butchered 6000 
prisoners whom he had promised to spare. 

2 He refers to the battle described in vi. 290 foil. 



Saepta and the battle fought in the enclosed 
Campus : ^ the general, against whom we carry on 
civil war, is Sulla's pupil. My anxiety is for you ; 
I shall win safety for myself by suicide ; if any man 
looks back before the foe is beaten, he will see me 
stabbing my own vitala. Ye gods, whose attention 
has been drawn away from heaven by the agony 
of Rome on earth, give victory to him who does 
not feel bound to draw the ruthless sword against 
beaten men, and does not believe that his fellow- 
citizens committed a crime by fighting against him. 
When Pompey held fast your ranks in a narrow 
space where your valour had no power to move, he 
glutted his sword with rivers of blood. ^ But this is 
my prayer to you, soldiers : none of you must smite 
a foe in the back, and every fugitive must pass for 
a countryman. But while their weapons glitter, no 
thought of natural affection, no sight of your sires 
in the front rank of the foe, must weaken your 
purpose ; mangle with the sword the faces that 
demand reverence. If any man smite the breast 
of a kinsman with ruthless steel, let him claim 
credit for his crime ; or, if his blow does violence to 
no tie of kinship, still let him claim credit for the 
death of an unknown foe, as if it were a crime. 
Level the rampart without delay and fill up the 
trench with the wreckage, that the army may pass 
out with full ranks and in solid formation. Be not 
careful of your camp; you will find quarters behind 
the rampart from which the doomed army is coming." 
Almost before Caesar had ceased to speak, each 
went to his appointed task ; in haste they armed 
and took food. Accepting the omen of victory, 
they tread down the fortifications and rush on, 



Arte ducis nulla permittuntque omnia fatis. 
Si totidem Magni soceros totidemque peteiites 
Urbis regna suae funesto in Marte locasses/ 335 

Non tam praecipiti ruerent in proelia cursu. 
Vidit ut hostiles in rectum exire eatervas 
Pompeius nullasque moras permittere bello, 
Sed superis placuisse diem, stat corde gelato 
Attonitus ; tantoque duel sic arma timere 340 

Omen erat. Premit inde metus totumque per agmen 
Sublimi praevectus equo^ ^^Quem flagitat " inquit 
" Vestra diem virtus, finis civilibus armis. 
Quern quaesistis, adest. Totas efFundite vires ; 
Extremum ferri superest opus, unaque gentes 345 

Hora trahit. Quisquis patriam carosque penates, 
Qui subolem ac thalamos desertaque pignora quaerit, 
Ense petat : medio posuit deus omnia campo. 
Causa iubet melior superos sperare secundos : 
Ipsi tela regent per viscera Caesaris, ipsi 350 

Romanas sancire volunt hoc sanguine leges. 
Si socero dare regna meo mundumque pararent, 
Praecipitare meam fatis potuere senectam : 
Non iratorum populis urbique deorum est, 
Pompeium servare ducem. Quae vincere possent, 356 
Omnia contulimus. Subiere pericula clari 
Sponte viri sacraque antiquus imagine miles. 
Si Curios his fata darent reducesque Camillos 

* locasses Orotius : locasset M88, 

^ When such men as Curius fought in the ranks. 


with no ordered ranks, no tactics on their leader's 
part; they leave all to destiny. Had each man 
drawn up on the fatal field been the kinsman 
of Magnus, and each been ambitious to reign over 
his country, they could not have rushed with such 
headlong speed to the fray. 

When Pompey saw the hostile army sally forth 
directly opposite him, to force on a battle without 
delay, and realised that this was the day fixed by 
Heaven, he stood appalled with frozen blood ; and 
to so great a general it was an evil omen that he 
should thus dread a conflict. But soon he suppressed 
his fears and rode all along the line on his tall war- 
horse. '' Behold the day," he said, " which your 
courage demands ; behold the welcome end of the 
civil war. Put forth your whole strength ; there 
remains but one last effort of arms ; a single hour 
is dragging all nations into conflict. If any man 
yearns for his country and loved home, for wife and 
children and dear ones left behind, he must strike 
to gain them : Heaven has set all the prizes in the 
open field. Our better cause bids us expect the 
favour of the gods : they themselves will guide our 
weapons through Caesar's heart, they themselves 
will wish to ratify the Roman constitution by his 
blood. If they intended to give my kinsman rule 
over the world, it was in their power to hurry this 
grey head into tlie grave ; and, since they have pre- 
served my life to command the army, surely they 
are not wrath with the nations ' and with Rome. 
We have brought together all that could make 
victory secure. Famous men have volunteered to 
face the danger; and our army has the august 
aspect of past times.^ A Curius and a Camillus, and 



Temporibus Deciosque caput fatale voventes, 

Hinc starent. Primo gentes oriente coactae 360 

Innumeraeque urbes, quantas in proelia numquam, 

Excivere manus. Toto simul utimur orbe. 

Quidquid signiferi conprensum limite caeli 

Sub Noton et Borean hominum sumus, arma movemus. 

Nonne superfusis collectum cornibus hostem 365 

In medium dabimus? paucas victoria dextras 

Exigit ; at plures tantum clamore catervae 

Bella gerent : Caesar nostris non sufficit armis. 

Credite pendentes e summis moenibus urbis 

Crinibus effusis hortari in proelia matres ; 370 

Credite grandaevum vetitumque aetate senatum 

Arma sequi sacros pedibus prosternere canos, 

Atque ipsam domini metuentem occurrere Romam ; 

Credite, qui nunc est populus populumque futurum 

Permixtas adferre preces : haec libera nasci, 376 

Haec volt turba mori. Si quis post pignora tanta 

Pompeio locus est, cum prole et coniuge supplex. 

Imperii salva si maiestate liceret, 

Volverer ante pedes. Magnus, nisi vincitis, exul, 

Ludibrium soceri, vester pudor, ultima fata 380 

Deprecor ac turpes extremi cardinis annos, 

Ne discam servire senex." Tam maesta locuti 

Voce ducis flagrant animi, Romanaque virtus 

Erigitur, placuitque mori, si vera timeret. 

^ The inhabitants of the northera hemisphere, from the 
tropic of Cancer to the Arctic circle, are meant by this 
description : see Housman p 329. 



the Decii who devoted their lives to death, if destiny 
restored them to our age and brought them back to 
earth, would stand on our side. The nations of the 
far East and countless cities have gathered together, 
and summoned to battle such hordes as were never 
seen before ; the whole world is at our disposal at 
one time. Our force includes every man, up to 
the verge of South and North, who lives enclosed 
within the bound of the Zodiac. ^ Shall we not shut 
in the whole hostile army, outflanking them with 
our wings ? Victory requires but a handful of com- 
batants : shouting is the only service that most of 
our squadrons will perform : Caesar's force is too 
small for ours to deal with. Imagine that the 
matrons of Rome are hanging over the topmost walls 
of the city with dishevelled hair, and urging you to 
battle ; imagine that aged senators, whose years 
prevent them from following the camp, lay at your 
feet their venerable grey hairs, and that Rome herself, 
in her fear of a master, comes to meet you. Imagine 
that both generations, the present and the future, 
address their joint entreaties to you : the one would 
fain be born, and the other die, in freedom. If 
after such solemn appeals there is room for my own 
name, then, together with my wife and sons, on my 
knees I would grovel at your feet, if I could do 
it without sullying the dignity of my command. 
Unless you conquer, I, Magnus, am an exile, scorned 
by my kinsman and a disgrace to you, and I pray to 
escape that utmost misery — shame in the closing 
years of life, and learning in old age to bear the yoke." 
Thus mournful was his speech ; and his voice 
kindled bheir courage till Roman valour rose high ; 
and they resolved to die, if his fears proved true. 



Ergo utrimque pari procurrunt agmina motu 385 

Irarum ; metus hos regni, spes excitat illos. 
Hae facient dextrae, quidqiiid nona ^ explicat aetas, 
Ut vacet a ferro. Gentes Mars iste futuras 
Obruet et populos aevi venientis in orbem 390 

Erepto natale feret. Tunc omne Latinum 
Fabula nomen erit ; Gabios Veiosque Coramque 
Pulvere vix tectae poterunt monstrare ruinae 
Albanosque lares Lauren tinosque penates, 
Rus vacuum, quod non habitet nisi nocte coacta 395 

Invitus questusque Numam iussisse senator. 
Non aetas haec carpsit edax monimentaque rerum 
Putria destituit : crimen civile videmus 
Tot vacuas urbes. Generis quo turba redacta est 
Humani ! toto populi qui nascimur orbe 400 

Nee muros inplere viris nee possumus agros ; 
Urbs nos una capit. Vincto fossore coluntur 
Hesperiae segetes, stat tectis putris avitis 
In nuUos ruitura domus, nulloque frequenteni 
Give suo Romam sed mundi faece repletam 405 

Cladis eo dedimus, ne tanto in corpore bellum 
lam possit civile geri. Pharsalia tanti 
Causa mali. Cedant, feralia nomina, Cannae 
Et damnata diu Romanis Allia fastis. 
Tempora signavit leviorum Roma malorum, 410 

Hunc voluit nescire diem. Pro tristia fata! 
Aera pestiferum tractu morbosque fluentes 

* nona Housman : non MSS. 

* Lucan lived in the ninth century from the foundation of 
Rome. The lack of men in that age was due, he says, to the 
slaughter of Pharsalia. 


Therefore the armies rushed forward, each inspired 
with tile same passionate ardour, the one eager to 
escape a tyranny, the other to gain it. These hands 
will bring it to pass that, whatever the ninth 
century ^ unfolds, it shall be free from warfare. This 
battle will destroy nations yet unborn ; it will deprive 
of their birthtime and sweep away the men of the 
generation coming into the world. Then all the 
Latin race will be a legend ; dust-covered ruins will 
scarce be able to indicate the site of Gabii and Veii 
and Cora, the houses of Alba and the dwellings of 
Laurentum — a depopulated country, where no man 
I dwells except the senators who are forced to spend 
one night there by Numa's law which they resent.^ 
It is not the tooth of time that has wrought this 
destruction and consigned to decay the memorials of 
the past : in all these uninhabited cities we see the 
guilt of civil war. How far reduced are the numbers 
of the human race ! All the people born on earth 
cannot supply inhabitants for town or country ; a 
single city contains us all. The corn-fields of Italy 
are tilled by chained labourers ; the ancient roof-tree 
is rotten and ready to fall, but none dwell beneath it ; 
Rome is not peopled by her own citizens but swarms 
with the refuse of mankind, and we have sunk her so 
low, that civil war, for all her many inmates, is 
no longer possible. Pharsalia is the cause of so 
^great a mischief. The fatal names of Cannae and of 
Allia, cursed long ago by the Roman Calendar, must 
give place to Pharsalia. Rome has marked the date 
of lighter calamities, but has decided to ignore this 
day. O cruel destiny ! Air fatal to inhale, and 

' The Roman consuls had to be present at Alba for the 
celebration of the Latin Festival. 



Insanamque famem permissasque ignibus urbes 

Moeniaque in praeceps laturos plena tremores 

Hi possent explere viri, quos undique traxit 415 

In miseram Fortuna necem, dum munera longi 

Explicat eripiens aevi, populosque ducesque 

Constituit campis, per quos tibi, Roma, ruenti 

Ostendat, quam magna cadas. Quae latins orbem 

Possedit, citius per prospera fata cucurrit ? 420 

Omne tibi bellum gentes dedit, omnibus annis 

Te geminum Titan procedere vidit in axem ; 

Haud miiltum terrae spatium restabat Eoae, 

Ut til)i nox, tibi tota dies, tibi curreret aether, 

Omniaque errantes stellae Romana viderent. 425 

Sed retro tua fata tulit par omnibus annis 

Emathiae funesta dies. Hac luce cruenta 

Effeetum, ut Latios non horreat India fasces. 

Nee vetitos errare Dahas in moenia ducat 

Sarmaticumque premat succinctus consul aratrum, 430 

Quod semper saevas debet tibi Parthia poenas. 

Quod fugiens civile nefas redituraque numquam 

Libertas ultra Tigrim Rhenumque recessit 

Ac, totiens nobis iugulo quaesita, vagatur, 

Germanum Scythicumque bonum, nee respicit ultra 435 

Ausoniam, vellem, populis incognita nostris. 

Volturis ut primum laevo fundata volatu 

Romulus infami conplevit moenia luco. 

Usque ad Thessalicas servisses, Roma, ruinas. 

De Brutis, Fortuna, queror. Quid tempora legum 440 

^ In ancient times it was the business of the consul to trace 
out with the plough the limits of a colony planted in a con- 
quered country. The Dahae were nomads who wandered over 
the plains to the E. of the Caspian. 

' He refers to the Brutus who expelled the Tarquins. 




epidemic disease ; maddening famine, cities consigned 
to the flames, and earthquakes that could bring to 
ruin populous cities— all these might be glutted by 
the men whom Fortune drew from every quarter to 
premature death, snatching away the gifts of long 
ages even while she displayed them, and arraying 
nations and chiefs upon the battle-field ; by them 
she wished to show to collapsing Rome, what great- 
ness fell with her. What city ever possessed a 
wider empire, or ran more quickly from success to 
success ? Each war added nations to Rome ; each year 
the sun saw her move forward towards either pole ; a 
small part of the East excepted, night, and day from 
beginning to end, and all the sky revolved for 
Rome, and the stars in their courses saw nothing 
that was not hers. But the fatal day of Pharsalia 
reversed her destiny and undid the work of all the 
past. Thanks to that bloody field, India dreads not 
the Roman rods, no Roman consul arrests the nomad 
Dahae and makes them dwell in cities, or leans on 
the plough ^ in Sarmatia with his robe looped up ; it 
is owing to Pharsalia that Parthia still owes us 
stern retribution, and that Freedom, banished by 
civil war, has retreated beyond the Tigris and the 
Rhine, never to return ; often as we have wooed her 
with our life-blood, she wanders afar, a blessing 
enjoyed by Germans and Scythians, and never turns 
an eye on Italy : would that our nation had never 
known her I Ever since Romulus founded his city 
by the flight of a vulture on the left, and peopled it 
with the criminals of the Asylum, down to the 
catastrophe of Pharsalia, Rome ought to have 
remained in slavery. I have a grudge against 
Fortune on the score of the Bruti.^ Why did we 


VOL. I. o 


Egimus aut annos a consule nomen habentes ? 

Felices Arabes Medique Eoaque tellus, 

Quam sub perpetuis tenuerunt fata tyrannis. 

Ex populis qui regna ferunt sors ultima nostra est, 

Quos servire pudet. Sunt nobis nulla pro fee to 445 

Numina : cum caeco rapiantur saecula casu. 

Mentimur regnare lovem. Spectabit ab alio 

Aethere Thessalicas, teneat cum fulmina, caedes ? 

Scilicet ipse petet Pholoen, petet ignibus Oeten 

Inmeritaeque nemus Rhodopes pinusque Mimantis, 450 

Cassius hoc potius feriet caput? Astra Thyestae 

Intulit et subitis damnavit noctibus Argos : 

Tot similes fratrum gladios patrumque gerenti 

Thessaliae dabit ille diem ? mortalia nuUi 

Sunt curata deo. Cladis tamen huius habemus 455 

Vindictam, quantam terris dare numina fas est : 

Bella pares superis facient civilia divos ; 

Fulminibus manes radiisque ornabit et astris 

Inque deum templis iurabit Roma per umbras. 

Ut rapid o cursu fati suprema morantem 460 

Consumpsere locum, parva tellure dirempti, 
Quo sua pila cadant aut quam sibi fata minentur 
inde manum, spectant. Vultus, quo noscere posseiit 
Facturi quae monstra forent, videre parentum ^ 
Frontibus adversis fraternaque comminus arma, 465 

Nee libuit rautare locum. Tamen omnia torpor 

* parentum Housinan : parentes MSS, 



enjoy a period of lawful government, or years named 
after the consuls? Fortunate are the Arabs and 
Medes and Eastern nations, whom destiny has kept 
continuously under tyrants. Of all the nations that 
endure tyranny our lot is the worst, because we 
blush for our slavery. In very truth there are no 
gods who govern mankind : though we say falsely 
that Jupiter reigns, blind chance sweeps the world 
along. Shall Jupiter, though he grasps the thunder- 
bolt, look on idly from high heaven at the slaughter 
of Pharsalia ? Shall he forsooth aim his fires at 
Pholoe and Oeta, at the pines of Mimas and the 
innocent forest of Rhodope, and shall Cassius, rather 
than he, strike Caesar down ? He brought night upon 
Thyestes and doomed Argos to premature darkness ; 
will he then grant daylight to Pharsalia that sees 
the guilt as great, of so many swords wielded by 
brothers and fathers ? Man's destiny has never 
been watched over by any god. Yet for this disaster 
we have revenge, so far as gods may give satisfaction 
to mortals : civil war shall make dead Caesars the 
peers of gods above ; and Rome shall deck out dead 
men with thunderbolts and haloes and constellations, 
and in the temples of the gods shall swear by 

When they had traversed at speed the ground 
that delayed the fiat of destiny, and were parted 
only by a little space, each looked to see where his 
own javelin would light, or whose hand on the other 
side destiny threatened to use against him. That 
they might learn what horrors they were about to 
commit, they saw their fathers' faces over against 
them and their brothers' weapons close beside them ; 
hut they cared not to shift their ground. Never- 



Pectora constrinxit, gelidusque in viscera sanguis 

Percussa pietate coit, totaeque cohortes 

Pila parata diu tensis tenuere lacertis. 

Di tibi non mortem, quae cunctis poena paratur, 470 

Sed sensum post fata tuae dent, Crastine, morti, 

Cuius torta manu commisit lancea bellum 

Primaque Tiiessaliam Romano sanguine tinxit, 

O praeceps rabies ! cum Caesar tela teneret, 

Inventa est prior ulla manus ? Tum stridulus aer 475 

Elisus lituis conceptaque classica cornu. 

Tunc ansae dare signa tubae, tunc aethera tendit 

Extremique fragor convexa inrumpit Olympi, 

Unde procul nubes, quo nulla tonitrua durant. 

Excepit resonis clamorem vallibus Haemus 480 

Peliacisque dedit rursus geminare cavemis ; 

Pindus agit fremitus, Pangaeaque saxa resultant, 

Oetaeaeque gemunt rupes, vocesque furoris 

Expavere sui tota tellure relatas. 

Spargitur innumerum diversis missile votis : 485 

Volnera pars optat, pars terrae figere tela 

Ac puras servare manus. Rapit omnia casus, 

Atque incerta facit quos volt fortuna nocentes. 483 

Tunc et Ityraei Medique Arabesque soluti, 614 

Arcu turba minax, nusquam rexere sagittas, 

Sed petitur solus qui campis inminet aer. 

Inde cadunt mortes. Sceleris sed crimine nullo 

Externum maculant chalybem ; stetit omne coactum 

Circa pila nefas. Ferro subtexitur aether, 

^ Crastinus is a historical person ; he fell in the battle. 


theless^ a numbness froze eacli bosom and the blood 
gathered cold at each lieart, from the shock to 
natural affection ; and whole companies long held 
their javelins in rest with rigid muscles. Heaven 
punish Crastinus ! ^ and not with death alone, for 
that is a punishment in store for all mankind 
alike ; but may his body after death keep the power 
to feel, because a lance that his hand brandished 
began the battle and first stained Pharsalia with 
Roman blood. What headlong frenzy! When 
Caesar grasped weapons, was any hand found to 
anticipate his ? Then a strident blast broke from 
the trumpets, and the war-note was sounded by the 
horn ; then the clarions dared to give the signal ; 
then the uproar mounted skyward and assailed the 
dome of furthest Olympus — Olympus, from which 
the clouds keep far away, and whither no thunders 
reach. The Balkan took up the noise in its echoing 
valleys and gave it to the caves of Pelium to repeat ; 
Pindus roared, the Pangaean rocks echoed, and the 
cliffs of Oeta bellowed, till the armies were terrified 
by the sound of their own madness repeated from all 
the earth. Countless javelins were hurled, but with 
different desires : some pray to deal wounds, and 
others to bury their points in the ground and keep 
their hands unstained ; but chance and haste are 
supreme, and random Fortune makes whom she will 
guilty. Next, the Ituraeans and Medes and 
free Arabs, formidable archers, shot their arrows 
at no mark, aiming only at the sky overhead ; and 
from the sky death came down ; but the archers 
stained their foreign steel with no guilt — all 
the weight of wickedness was confined to the 
Roman javelins. The air was veiled with steel, and 



Noxque super campos telis conserta pependit. 620 

Seel quota pars cladis iaculis ferroque volanti 489 

Exacta est ! odiis solus civilibus ensis 490 

Sufficit, et dextras Romana in viscera ducit. 

Pompei densis acies stipata catervis 

lunxerat in seriem nexis umbonibus arma, 

Vixque habitura locum dextras ac tela movendi 

Constiterat gladiosque suos conpressa timebat. 495 

Praecipiti cursu vaesanum Caesaris agmen 

In densos agitur cuneos, perque arma, per hostem 

Quaerit iter. Qua torta graves lorica catenas 

Opponit tutoque latet sub tegmine pectus, 

Hac quoque perventum est ad viscera, totque per arma 500 

Extremum est, quod quisque ferit. Civilia bella 

Una acies patitur, gerit altera ; frigidus inde 

Stat gladius, calet omne nocens a Caesare ferrum. 

Nee Fortuna diu rerum tot pondera vertens 

Abstulit ingentes fato torrente ruinas. 606 

Ut priraum toto diduxit cornua campo 
Pompeianus eques bellique per ultima fudit, 
Sparsa per extremos levis armatura maniplos 
Insequitur saevasque manus inmittit in hostem : 
lUic quaeque suo miscet gens proelia telo ; 610 

Romanus cunctis petitur cruor ; inde sagittae, 
Inde faces et saxa volant spatioque solutae 
Aeris et calido liquefactae pondere glandes ; 613 

Cum Caesar, metueus ne frons sibi prima labaret 621 



darkness made by interlacing missiles hung over the 
plain. But not much of the slaughter was wrought 
by the flying steel of the javelins : the sword alone can 
gratify the hate of civil war, and leads the hand to 
the hearts of Romans. Pompey's soldiers, closely 
packed in serried ranks, had joined their shields^ 
boss against boss, to form an unbroken line ; they 
scarce had room, as they stood, to ply their hands 
and weapons, and their close order made their 
swords a danger to themselves. With headlong 
speed and fury Caesar's men charged the close- 
packed columns, forcing a way through shields and 
through soldiers. Where the plaited breastplate 
presents its heavy rings and the breast is concealed 
under the protection of the cuirass, even there the 
heart was reached, and what lies beneath all the 
armour is the mark of every thrust. One army 
endures, and the other inflicts, civil warfare : on 
Pompey's side the swords are cold and idle, but 
every guilty blade on Caesar's side is hot. And 
Fortune, taking little time to work such a mighty 
reversal, swept away the vast wreck with the flood 
of doom. 

When Pompey's cavalry drew their wings apart 
over the whole plain and extended them beyond the 
flanks of the fighters, at once his light-armed 
troops in loose order pressed on through the outmost 
ranks and launched fierce hordes against Caesar's 
troops. There each people engaged witli its native 
weapon, but all alike sought Roman blood ; they 
discharge volleys of arrows, firebrands and stones, 
and bullets, melted by passing through the air and 
fused by their heated weight. But Caesar, fearing 
that his front line might be shaken by their attack, 



Incursu, tenet obliquas post sigiia cohortes 

Inque latus belli, qua se vagus hostis agebat, 

Emittit subitum non motis coriiibus agmen. 

Inmemores pugnae nulloque pudore timendi 625 

Praecipites feeere palam, civilia bella 

Non bene barbaricis umquam commissa catervis. 

Ut primus sonipes transfixus pectora ferro 

In caput efFusi calcavit membra regentis, 

Omnis eques cessit campis, glomerataque nubes 630 

In sua conversis praeceps ruit agmina frenis. 

Perdidit inde modum caedes, ac nulla secuta est 

Pugna, sed hinc iugulis, hinc ferro bella geruntur; 

Nee valet haee acies tantum prosternere, quantum 

Inde perire potest. Utinam, Pharsalia, campis 635 

Sufficiat cruor iste tuis, quern barbara fundunt 

Pectora, non alio mutentur sanguine fontes ; 

Hie numerus totos tibi vestiat ossibus agros. 

Aut si Romano conpleri sanguine mavis, 

Istis parce, precor ; vivant Galataeque Syrique, 540 

Cappadoces Gallique extremique orbis Hiberi, 

Armenii, Cilices ; nam post civilia bella 

Hie populus Romanus erit. Semel ortus in omnes 

It timor, et fatis datus est pro Caesare cursus. 

Ventum erat ad robur Magni mediasque catervas. 546 
Quod totos errore vago perfuderat agros, 
Constitit hie bellum fortunaque Caesaris haesit. 
Non illic regum auxiliis collecta iuventus 
Bella gerit, ferrumque manus movere rogatae ; 
Ille locus fratres habuit^ locus ille parentes. 660 



moved the cohorts which he kept at an angle 
to his front behind the standards, and suddenly sent 
them forward, while the wings stood still, to that 
part of the field where the enemy was fighting in 
disorder. Forgett ul of battle, unashamed of coward- 
ice, the cavalry fled headlong, proving that it is 
never safe to trust civil warfare to barbaric hordes. 
When the first charger, stabbed in the chest, threw 
his rider headlong and trampled on his body, all the 
horsemen fled from the field : turning their horses 
round, they rushed furiously in a dense cloud against 
their own ranks. Unlimited slaughter followed : 
there was no battle, but only steel on one side and 
throats to pierce on the other. The one army 
cannot lay low all of the other that can be slain. 
IVould that the blood shed by foreign breasts could 
content the plain of Pharsalia, that her springs 
could be dyed with no gore but theirs, that their 
numbers could clothe all her fields with skeletons ! 
Or, if she prefers to be glutted with Roman blood, 
then let her spare the lives of these — Galatians and 
Syrians, Cappadocians and Gauls and remotest 
Iberians, Armenians and Cilicians ; for after the 
civil war these will be the Roman people. Panic, 
when once it began, spread to all ; and free course 
was given to destiny in Caesar's favour. 

It was now the turn of Pompey's centre, where 
his main strength lay. The fight which had ranged 
at random all over the field was concentrated here, 
and Caesar's fortune received a check. The men 
who fought here and plied their weapons were not 
brought from many quarters or borrowed by aid of 
the kings : here stood the brothers and fathers of 
the slayers. This place comprised the rage and 



Hie furor, hie rabies, hie sunt tua erimina, Caesar. 

Hanc fuge, mens, partem belli tenebrisque relinque, 

Nullaque tantorum diseat me vate malorum, 

Quam multum bellis liceat civilibus, aetas. 

A potius pereant lacrimae pereantque querellae : 555 

Quidquid in hac acie gessisti, Roma, tacebo. 

Hie Caesar, rabies populis stimulusque furorum, 

Ne qua parte sui pereat scelus, agmina circum 

It vagus atque ignes animis flagrantibus addit. 

Inspicit et gladios, qui toti sanguine manent, 560 

Qui niteant primo tantum mucrone cruenti, 

Quae presso tremat ense manus, quis languida tela, 

Quis Gontenta ferat, quis praestet bella iubenti, 

Quem pugnare iuvet, quis voltum cive perempto 

Mutet ; obit latis proiecta cadavera campis ; 665 

Volnera multorum totum fusura cruorem 

Opposita premit ipse manu. Quacumque vagatur, 

Sanguineum veluti quatiens Bellona flagellum, 

Bistonas aut Mavors agitans, si verbere saevo 

Palladia stimulet turbatos aegide currus, 570 

Nox ingens scelerum est ; caedes oriuntur, et instar 

Inmensae vocis gemitus, et pondere lapsi 

Pectoris arma sonant confractique ensibus enses. 

Ipse manu subicit gladios ac tela ministrat 

Adversosque iubet ferro confundere voltus. 675 

Promovet ipse acies, inpellit terga suorum, 

Verbere conversae cessantes excitat hastae, 

In plebem vetat ire manus monstratque senatum ; 

y Lucan makes this promise and then proceeds to break it. 

2 Mars is supposed to be urging on his Thraeians against 
some tribe, whom Pallas, armed with her shield (the aegis), is 



madness and wickedness of Caesar. Let my pen 
turn away from this phase of the war and leave it to 
darkness ; I refuse to tell such horrors, and no age 
shall learn from me the full licence of civil war. 
Rather let our tears be shed in vain, and our com- 
plaints be uttered in vain : of the part that Rome 
played in this battle I shall say nothing.^ Here 
Caesar, maddening the men and stirring up their 
frenzy, moved to and fro round the ranks and added 
fuel to the fire of their passion, in order that 
wickedness might not anywhere be wrought in vain : 
his eye marks whether their blades stream with 
blood from point to hilt, or glitter still with only 
the points reddened ; whose hand trembles as it 
grasps the sword ; whose arm is slack and whose 
braced ; who merely obeys the order to fight, and 
who delights in it; and who changes countenance 
when he has slain a countryman. He visits the 
corpses that sprawl on the wide plain ; with his own 
hand he staunches the wound that would otherwise 
pour out all the blood of many a man. Wherever 
he moves, like Bellona brandishing her bloody 
scourge, or like Mars urging on the Bistones, when 
with fierce blows he lashes on his steeds terrified by 
the aegis of Pallas,^ a mighty darkness of crime and 
slaughter arises, and a groaning like one great cry, 
and a rattle of the breastplate when a man falls 
heavily, and a snapping of blade against blade. His 
hand supplies fresh swords and provides missiles ; 
his voice bids them hack with the steel the faces of 
the foe. In person he advances the fighting line 
and urges on his rearguard ; he rouses the laggards 
with blows from the butt-end of his spear. Bidding 
them spare those of low degree, he points out the 



Scit, cruor imperii qui sit, quae viscera rerum, 

Uiide petat Romam, libertas ultima mundi 680 

Quo steterit ferienda loco. Permixta secundo 

Ordine nobilitas venerandaque corpora ferro 

Urguentur ; caedunt Lepidos caeduntque Metellos 

Corvinosque simul Torquataque nomina, rerum 

Saepe duces summosque hominum te, Magne, remote. 586 

Illic plebeia contectus casside voltus 

Ignotusque hosti, quod ferrum, Brute, tenebas ! 

O decus imperii, spes o suprema senatus, 

Extremum tanti generis per saecula nomen, 

Ne rue per medios nimium temerarius hostes, 690 

Nee tibi fatales admoveris ante Philippos, 

Thessalia periture tua. Nil proficis istic 

Caesaris intentus iugulo : nondum attigit arcem. 

Juris et humani columen, quo cuncta premuutur, 

Egressus meruit fatis tam nobile letum, 695 

Vivat et, ut Bruti procumbat victima, regnet. 

Hie patriae perit omne decus : iacet aggere magno 
Patricium campis non mixta plebe cadaver. 
Mors taraen eminuit clarorum in strage virorura 
Pugnacis Domiti, quem clades fata per omnes 600 

Ducebant : nusquam Magni ibrtuna sine illo 
Succubuit. Victus totiens a Caesare salva 
Libertate perit ; tunc mille in volnera laetus 
Labitur ac venia gaudet caruisse secunda. 
Viderat in crasso versantem sanguine membra 605 

^ Brutus fought in the battle, and we are told by Plutarch 
that Caesar, on learning that he had surviv^ed, was relieved 
from great anxiety ; but this story, that Brutus disguised 
himself as a common soldier in order to stab Caesar on the 
field, is a mere invention of Lucan's. 

2 For the identification of Pharsalia and Philippi, see n. 
to i. 680. 



senators. For he knows where the blood of the 
empire runs, the pulse of the machine ; he knows in 
what quarter Rome must be struck, and the vulner- 
able points of Liberty now making her last stand on 
earth. Senators mixed with kniglits are borne 
down by the steel, and noble corpses lie low ; they 
slay Lepidi and Metelli, they slay Corvini together 
with the stock of Torquatus — often leaders of the 
State, and raised above all men, Magnus alone 
excepted. But what did Brutus ^ there, sword in 
hand and hiding his face from the foe in the disguise 
of a common soldier's helmet .'* O glory of Rome, last 
hope of the Senate and last scion of a house famous 
throughout our history, rush not too rashly through 
the midst of the enemy, nor seek to anticipate tiie 
doom of Philippi : death will come to you in a 
Pharsalia^ of your own. Your design against 
Caesar's life is bootless here : not yet has he attained 
the tyrant's stronghold ; not yet has he risen beyond 
the lawful summit of human greatness tliat dwarfs all 
other things ; and therefore he has not earned from 
destiny so glorious a death. Let him live to reign ; 
and then let him fall a victim to the dagger of Brutus. 
All the glory of our country fell there : the 
corpses of the patricians lay in a great heap upon 
the field, with no plebeians among them. Yet one 
death was most noticeable in that carnage of famous 
men — the death of that stubborn warrior, Domitius. 
Fate led him from defeat to defeat ; never was he 
absent when Pompey's cause was worsted. Though 
conquered so often by Caesar, he died without losing 
his freedom. Now he fell gladly under a thousand 
wounds, and rejoiced not to be pardoned a second 
time. Caesar saw him weltering in a pool of blood 



Caesar, et increpitans " lam Magni deseris arma, 

Successor Domiti ; sine te iam bella geruntur " 

Dixerat. Ast illi suffecit pectora pulsans 

Spiritus in vocem morientiaque ora resolvit: 

" Non te funesta scelerum mercede potitum, 610 

Sed dubium fati, Caesar, generoque minorem 

Aspiciens Stygias Magno duce liber ad umbras 

Et securus eo ; te saevo Marte subactum 

Pompeioque graves poenas nobisque daturum. 

Cum moriar, sperare licet." Non plura locutura 616 

Vita fugit, densaeque oculos pressere tenebrae. 

Inp^ndisse pudet lacrimas in funere mundi 
Mortibus innumeris, ac singula fata sequentera 
Quaerere, letiferum per cuius viscera volnus 
Exierit, quis fusa solo vitalia calcet^ 620 

Ore quis adverso demissum faucibus ensem 
Expulerit moriens anima, quis corruat ictus, 
Quis steterit, dum membra cadunt, qui pectore tela 
Transmittant, aut quos campis adfixerit hasta, 
Quis cruor emissis perruperit aera venis 626 

Inque hostis cadat arma sui, quis pectora fratris 
Caedat et, ut notum possit spoliare cadaver, 
Abscisum longe mittat caput, ora parentis 
Quis laceret nimiaque probet spectantibus ira, 
Quem iugulat, non esse patrem. Mors nulla querella 630 
Digna sua est, nullosque hominum lugere vacamus. , 

Non istas habuit pugnae Pharsalia partes, I 

^ Domitius liad been chosen by the Senate to succeed Caesar 
in GauL 



and taunted him thus : " Domitius, inheritor of my 
province/ you are now deserting Pompey's cause ; 
you have no part henceforward in the war." Thus 
he spoke; and the breath that heaved the other's 
breast was enougli for speech, and he opened his 
dying hps : " Caesar, you have not grasped the fatal 
reward of your guilt : your fate remains uncertain and 
you are inferior to your son-in-law ; and seeing your 
plight, I go free and untroubled to the Stygian 
shades, and Pompey is still my leader. Though I 
die, I still can hope that you, borne down in fierce 
battle, will pay a heavy reckoning to Pompey and to 
me." Before he could say more, life left him and 
thick darkness closed his eyes. 

Where a whole world died, it were shame to spend 
tears upon any of a myriad deaths, or to follow the fate 
of individuals and ask, through whose vitals the death- 
dealing sword passed, who trod upon his own entrails 
poured out upon the ground, who faced the foe and 
dying drove out with his last gasp the blade buried in 
his throat. Some fell to earth when stricken ; others 
stood upright while their arms were lopped off; the 
weapon passed right through the breasts of some, 
while others were pinned to the ground by the 
spear ; the blood of some, pouring from the veins, 
spouted through the air and fell on the armour of 
their foes ; one man pierced a brother's breast, and 
then cut off the head and hurled it to a distance, 
that he might be able to rob the kindred corpse, 
while another mangled his father's face and tried 
by excess of fury to convince the eye-witnesses that 
his victim was not his father. But no death deserves 
a lament to itself, and we have no leisure to mourn 
any individual. Pharsalia played a different part in 



Quas aliae clades : illic per fata virorum, 
Per populos hie Roma peril ; quod militis illic, 
Mors hie gentis erat ; sanguis ibi fluxit Achaeus, 635 
Ponticus, Assyrius ; eunctos liaerere cruores 
Romanus campisque vetat consistere torrens. 
Maius ab hac acie quam quod sua saeeula ferrent 
Volnus habent populi ; plus est quam vita salusque 
Quod perit : in totum mundi prosternimur aevum. 640 
Vincitur his gladiis omnis quae serviet aetas. 
Proxima quid suboles aut quid meruere nepotes 
In regnum nasci? pavide num gessimus arma 
Teximus aut iugulos ? alieni poena timoris 
In nostra cervice sedet. Post proelia natis 646 

Si dominum, Fortuna, dabas, et bella dedisses. 
lam Magnus transisse deos Romanaque fata 
Senserat infelix^ tota vix clade coactus 
Fortunam damnare suam. Stetit aggere campi, 
Eminus unde omnes sparsas per Thessala rura 660 

Aspiceret clades, quae bello obstante latebant. 
Tot telis sua fata peti, tot corpora fusa 
Ac se tam multo pereuntem sanguine vidit. 
Nee, sicut mos est miseris, trahere omnia secum 
Mersa iuvat gentesque suae miscere ruinae : 666 

Ut Latiae post se vivat pars maxima turbae, 
Sustinuit dignos etiamnunc credere votis 
Caelicolas vovitque, sui solacia casus. 


battle from all other defeats : in them Rome suffered 
by the death of men, but here she was destroyed by 
the death of nations ; a people died here, for 
every soldier there ; here tlie blood of Achaea, 
Pontus, and Assyria was poured out, and all that 
bloodshed the torrent of Roman gore forbids to 
linger and stagnate on the field. A blow too heavy 
for their own age to bear was dealt to all nations by 
this battle : more was lost there than mere life and 
existence : we were overthrown for all time to 
come ; all future generations doomed to slavery 
were conquered by those swords. For what fault 
of their own were the sons or grandsons of the 
combatants at Pharsalia born to slavery.'* Did we 
play the coward in battle or screen our throats from 
the sword ? The penalty of cowardice not our own 
is fastened upon our necks. To us, born after that 
battle. Fortune gave a master; she should have 
given us also the chance to fight for freedom. 

By now Magnus, unhappy man, was aware that 
Heaven and the destiny of Rome had gone over to 
the enemy, though the full extent of the disaster 
could scarce compel him to despair of his fortunes. 
Far off* on a rising ground he stayed, to see from 
there the carnage spread through the land of 
Thessaly, which the battle had hidden from his 
sight ; he saw all the missiles aimed at his life, and 
all the prostrate corpses ; he saw himself dying with 
all that bloodshed. But he desired not, as the 
wretched often do, to draw all things in destruc- 
tion after him and make mankind share his ruin. 
Deigning to consider Heaven even yet worthy of his 
prayers, he consoled himself in calamity by praying 
that the most of the Romans might survive him. 



" Parcite," ait "superi, cunctas prosternere genres. 
Stante potest mundo Komaque superstite Magnus 660 
Esse miser. Si plura iuvant mea volnera, coniunx 
Est mihi, sunt nati ; dedimus tot pignora fatis. 
Civiline parum est bello, si meque meosque 
Obruit ? exiguae clades sumus orbe remoto ? 
Omnia quid laceras ? quid perdere cuncta laboras ? 665 
lam nihil est, Fortuna, meum." Sic fatur et arma 
Signaque et adflictas omni iam parte catervas 
Circumit et revocat matura in fata ruentes 
Seque negat tanti. Nee derat robur in enses 
Ire duci iuguloque pati vel pectore letum ; 670 

Sed timuit, strato miles ne corpore Magni 
Non fugeret, supraque ducem procumberet orbis ; 
Caesaris aut oculis voluit subducere mortem. 
Nequiquam, infelix : socero spectare volenti 
Praestandum est ubicumque caput. Sed tu quoque, 

coniunx, 676 
Causa fugae voltusque tui fatisque negatum 
Parte absente ^ mori. Turn Magnum concitus aufert 
A bello sonipes non tergo tela paventem 
Ingentesque animos extrema in fata ferentem. 
Non gemitus, non fletus erat, salvaque verendus 680 
Maiestate dolor, qualem te, Magne, decebat 
Romanis praestare malis. Non inpare voltu 
Aspicis Emathiam : nee te videre superbum 
Prospera bellorum nee fractum adversa videbunt ; 
Quamque fuit laeto per tres infida triumphos 685 

^ I'arte absente Housman : Te praesente M8S. 


"Stop here, ye gods," he said, "^and refrain from 
destroying all nations. The world may remain and 
Rome survive, though Magnus is doomed. If you 
desire to add to my afflictions, I have a wife, I have 
sons ; all these hostages have I given to fortune. 
Is civil war still unsatisfied, if it destroy me and 
mine? Is our overthrow not enough, unless the 
world be added? Why does Fortune mangle all 
things and seek universal destruction ? Nothing 
is left now of my own." Thus he spoke, and 
rode round his army and the standards and the 
troops now shattered on every hand, recalling them 
from rushing upon instant death, and saying that he 
was not worth the sacrifice. He lacked not the 
courage to confront the swords and offer throat or 
breast to the fatal blow ; but he feared that, if he 
lay low, his soldiers would refuse to flee and the 
whole world would be laid upon the body of their 
leader; or else he wished to remove his death from 
Caesar's sight. Vain hope, alas ! If his kinsman 
desires to look upon that head, it must be presented 
to him in any and every land. And there was 
another cause for his flight — his wife and her loved 
face, and the decree of fate that he should not die 
with part of himself absent. Then Magnus rode 
swiftly from the field, fearing not the missiles behind 
him but moving with high courage to his final doom. 
There was no lamentation nor tears — only a noble 
sorrow with no loss of dignity, such a sorrow as the 
calamities of Rome deserved to receive from Magnus. 
With countenance unchanged he beholds Pharsalia; 
victory never saw him lifted up, and defeat shall 
never see him cast down ; and treacherous Fortune, 
who found him her superior at the time of his three 



Tarn misero Fortuna minor. lam pondere fati 

Deposito securus abis ; nunc tempora laeta 

Respexisse vacat ; spes numquam inplenda recessit ; 

Quid fueriSj nunc scire licet. Fuge proelia dira 

Ac testare deos nullum, qui perstet in armis, 690 

lam tibi, Magne, mori. Ceu flebilis Africa damnis 

Et ceu Munda nocens Pharioque a gurgite clades. 

Sic et Thessalicae post te pars maxima pugnae 

Non lam Pompei nomen populare per orbem 

Nee studium belli, sed par quod semper habemus, 695 

Libertas et Caesar erit ; teque inde fugato 

Ostendit moriens sibi se pugnasse senatus. 

Nonne iuvat pulsum bellis cessisse nee istud 
Perspectasse nefas? spumantes caede catervas 
Respice, turbatos incursu sanguinis amnes, 700 

Et soceri miserere tui. Quo pectore Romam 
Intrabit factus campis felicior istis? 
Quidquid in ignotis solus regionibus exul, 
Quidquid sub Phario positus patiere tyranno, 
Crede deis, longo fatorum crede favori, 706 

Vincere peius erat. Prohibe lamenta sonare, 
Flere veta populos, lacrimas luctusque remitte. 
Tarn mala Pompei quam prospera mundus adoret. 
Aspice securus voltu non supplice reges, 
Aspice possessas urbes donataque regna, 710 

Aegypton Libyamque, et terras elige morti. 


triumphs, is as far beneath him now in his fall. He 
goes away free from care, having laid down the 
burden Fate put upon him ; now he has leisure to 
look back at past happiness ; and hope, never to be 
fulfilled, has departed ; now he can realise what once 
he was. Let him flee from the fatal field, and call 
Heaven to witness that those who continue the fight 
are no longer giving their lives for Pompey. Like 
the woeful losses in Africa, like guilty Munda and 
the slaughter by the Nile, so most of the fighting at 
Pharsalia, after Pompey's departure, ceased to repre- 
sent the world's love of Pompey or the passion for 
war : it was tlie never-ending contest between Free- 
dom and Empire ; and when Pompey had fled from 
Pharsalia, the senators proved by dying that they 
had fougiit in their own quarrel. 

Is it not happiness to you, Pompey, to have with- 
drawn defeated from the battle, without witnessing 
that horror to its close ? Look back on the ranks 
reeking with carnage, and the rivers darkened by 
the inrush of blood, and then pity your kinsman. 
With what feelings will he enter Home, owing his 
good fortune to yonder field ? Whatever you have 
yet to endure, as a lonely exile in strange lands or 
at the mercy of the Egyptian king, take the word of 
Heaven and Fortune so long favourable : victory 
was worse than defeat. Forbid the sound of lamenta- 
tion and stop the mourning of mankind ; forgo their 
tears and grief. The world must bow before Pompey 
in his misfortune as they bowed before his success. 
Calmly and with no petitionary aspect look upon the 
kings, look upon the cities you took and the thrones 
of Egypt and Africa which you gave, and choose a 
land to die in. 



Vidit prima tuae testis Larisa ruinae 
Nobile nee victum fatis caput. Omnibus ilia 
Civibus efFudit totas per moenia vires 
Obvia ceu laeto : promittunt munera flentes, 715 

Pandunt templa, domos, socios se cladibus optant. 
Scilicet inmenso superest ex nomine multum, 
Teque minor solo cunctas inpellere gentes 
Rursus in arma potes rursusque in fata redire. 
Sed " quid opus victo populis aut urbibus ? " inquit 720 
" Victori praestate fidem." Tu, Caesar, in alto 
Caedis adhuc cumulo patriae per viscera vadis. 
At tibi iam populos donat gener. Avehit inde 
Pompeium sonipes ; gemitus lacrimaeque secuntur 
Plurimaque in saevos populi convicia divos. 725 

Nunc tibi vera fides quaesiti, Magne, favoris 
Contigit ac fructus : felix se nescit amari. 

Caesar, ut Hesperio vidit satis arva natare 
Sanguine, parcendum ferro manibusque suorum 
lam ratus ut viles animas perituraque frustra 730 

Agmina permisit vitae. Sed castra fugatos 
Ne revocent pellatque quies nocturna pavorem, 
Protinus hostili statuit succedere vallo, 
Dum fortuna calet, dum conficit omnia terror, 
Non veritus, grave ne fessis aut f Marte subactisj ^ 736 
Hoc foret imperium. Non magno hortamine miles 
In praedam ducendus erat. " Victoria nobis 
Plena, viri," dixit " superest pro sanguine merces, 

1 The words obelised must be corrupt : they could only mean 
**or conquered in war." 



Larisa was the first witness of his fallen greatness — 
the first to behold that noble head unconquered by 
disaster. She poured out all her population through 
her gates, and met him like a conqueror with all her 
inhabitants ; with tears they promise gifts, they 
open their temples and houses, they pray to share 
his defeat. In truth much remains of that boundless 

.fame; with no superior except his former self, he 

^^ might again rouse all nations to battle and resume 
his victorious course. But he refused : " What need 

i-has a conquered man of nations or cities ? Offer 
your loyalty to the conqueror." While Caesar is 
still treading on corpses piled high and marching 
over the very life of his country, he receives from 
his kinsman nations as a gift. When Pompey rode 
away from Larisa, the cries and tears of the people 
followed him, and many a reproach against the 

« cruelty of Fleaven. That day gave proof to Pompey 
of the favour he had gained, and gave him enjoyment 
of it : the prosperous are never sure that they are 
loved for themselves. 

When Caesar saw that the fields were flooded deep 
enough with Italian blood, he thought it time to 

. restrain the sword in the hands of his soldiers, and 
suffered to survive the worthless lives by whose 
death he had nothing to gain. But fearing that 
their camp would rally the fugitives, and that a 
night's rest would dispel their fears, he decided to 
march at once up to the enemy's rampart, and to 
strike while the iron was hot and panic irresistible. 

^ He felt no fear that this command would be grievous 
to his weary veterans. The soldiers needed but 
little encouragement to lead them to plunder. " Our 
victory is complete, my men," he said ; " all that 



Quam monstrare meura est ; neque enim donare vocabo, 

Quod sibi quisque dabit. Cunctis en plena metallis 740 

Castra patent ; raptum Hesperiis e gentibus aurum 

Hie iacet, Eoasque preraunt tentoria gazas. 

Tot regum fortuna simul Magnique coacta 

Expectat dominos : propera praecedere^ miles, 

Quos sequeris ; quascumque tuas Pharsalia fecit 746 

A victis rapiuntur opes." Quae fossa, quis agger 

Sustineat jn-etium belli scelerumque petentes? 760 

Scire vuunt, quanta fuerint mercede nocentes. 

Invenere quidem spoliato plurima mundo 

Bellorum in sumptus congestae pondera massae ; 

Sed non inplevit cupientes omnia mentes. 

Quidquid fodit Hiber, quidquid Tagus expuit auri, 765 

Quod legit dives summis Arimaspus harenis, 

Ut rapiant, parvo scelus hoc venisse putabunt. 

Cum sibi Tarpeias victor despondent arces. 

Cum spe Romanae promiserit omnia praedae, 

Decipitur, quod castra rapit. Capit inpia plebes 760 

Caespite patricio somnos, stratumque cubile 

Regibus infandus miles premit, inque parentum 

Inque toris fratrum posuerunt membra nocentes. 

Quos agitat vaesana quies, somnique furentes 

Thessalicam miseris versant in pectore pugnam. 765 

Invigilat cunctis saevum scelus, armaque tota 

Mente agitant, capuloque manus absente moventur. 



remains is the reward for our blood; and that re- 
ward it is for me to point out — I shall not speak of 
bestowing what each of you will give to himself. 
Before you lies their camp, filled with all precious 
metals : the gold robbed from the Western nations 
is piled there, and their tents are crammed with the 
treasures of the East. The wealth of so many kings 
and the wealth of Magnus are here gathered together, 
waiting for owners. Make haste to outstrip the 
fugitives ; all the riches that Pharsalia has made 
yours are being seized by the vanquished." What 
trench, what rampart, could withstand men who 
sought the reward of victory and crime? They are 
wild to know what the wages of their wickedness 
amount to. They found indeed many a mass of 
metal, collected from a plundered world to defray 
the cost of war ; but these could not glut their 
boundless avarice. Even if they seized all the gold 
mined by Spaniards or thrown up by the Tagus or 
gathered from the surface of the sand by rich Ari- 
maspians, still they would consider their crime poorly 
paid. They counted on the Tarpeian citadel as their 
own in case of victory; they had promised their 
utmost to their leader in hope of sacking Rome ; 
and they are disappointed by the pillage of a mere 
camp. Base-born and bloodstained, they slept on 
the turf piled for patricians ; the infamous rank and 
file lay down on couches prepared for kings ; and 
the guilty rested their limbs where their fathers 
and brothers had slept. But a night of madness 
disturbed their rest, and frenzied dreams kept the 
battle of Pharsalia ever before their tortured minds. 
Their pitiless crime is awake in every heart, their 
whole mind is busy with battle, and their hands 



Ingemuisse putem campos, terramque noceiitem 

Inspirasse animas, infectumque aera totum 

Manibus et superam Stygia formidine noctem. 770 

Exigit a mentis tristes victoria poenas, 

Sibilaque et flammas infert sopor. Umbra perempti 

Civis adest ; sua quemque premit terroris imago : 

Ille senum voltus, iuvenum videt ille figuras, 

Hunc agitant totis fraterna cadavera somnis, 775 

Pectore in hoc pater est, omnes in Caesare manes. 

Haud alios nondum Scythica purgatus in ara 

Eumenidum vidit voltus Pelopeus Orestes, 

Nee magis attonitos animi sensere tumultus. 

Cum fureret, Pentheus, aut, cum desisset, Agave. 780 

Hunc omnes gladii, quos aut Pharsalia vidit 

Aut ultrix visura dies stringente senatu. 

Ilia nocte premunt, hunc infera monstra flagellant. 

Et quantum poenae misero mens conscia donat, 

Quod Styga, quod manes ingestaque Tartara somnis 785 

Pompeio vivente videt ! Tamen omnia passo, 

Postquam clara dies Pharsalica damna retexit, 

Nulla loci facies revocat feralibus arvis 

Haerentes oculos. Cernit propulsa cruore 

Flumina et excelsos cumulis aequantia colles 790 

Corpora, sidentes in tabem spectat acervos 

Et Magni numerat populos, epulisque paratur 

Ille locus, voltus ex quo faciesque iacentum 



that grasp no hilt are never still. I can well believe 
that the battle-field sent forth a cry, and that the 
guilty soil breathed its airs upon them ; that all the 
sky was tainted by the dead, and the night of the 
upper world darkened with the terrors of Hell. 
Their victory justly demands grim retribution; sleep 
brings flames and hissing of serpents against them. 
The ghost of a slain countryman stands by the bed ; 
each man has a different shape of terror to haunt 
him : one sees the faces of old men, another the 
forms of youths ; one is disturbed all night by his 
brother's corpse, another's breast is weighed down 
by his father's ghost , but all the ghosts alike attack 
Caesar. Even so Pelopean Orestes beheld the faces 
of the Furies, before he was purified at the Scythian 
altar; nor did Pentheus in his madness, or Agave, 
when she had returned to her senses, feel more 
horror and disturbance of mind. All the swords 
that Pharsalia saw, and all that the day of vengeance 
was to see drawn by the Senate, were aimed at 
Caesar's breast that night; and the monsters of 
Hell scourged him. And yet his guilt excused the 
wretch great part of his penalty ; for when Caesar 
beheld the Styx and its ghosts and all Hell let 
loose upon his sleep, Pompey was still alive. All 
this he suffered; and yet, when daylight revealed 
the casualties of Pharsalia, no feature of the land 
recalled his eyes from dwelling on the fatal field. 
He sees rivers running fast with gore, and heaps of 
corpses like high hills ; he beholds the piles of dead 
settling down into corruption, and counts the nations 
that followed Magnus ; and a spot, from which he 
can recognise the faces and features of the dead, is 
prepared for his feasting. He rejoices that he can- 



Agnoscat. luvat Emathiam non ceinere terram 

Et lustrare oculis campos sub clade latentes. 795 

Fortunam superosque suos in sanguine cernit. 

Ac ne laeta furens scelerum specti?cula perdat, 

Invidet igne rogi miseris caeloque nocenti 

Ingerit Emathiam. Non ilium Poenus humator 

Consulis et Libyca suecensae lampade Cannae 800 

Conpellunt, hominum ritus ut servet in hoste, 

Sed meminit nondum satiata caedibus ira, 

Cives esse suos. Petimus non singula busta 

Discretosque rogos : unum da gentibus ignem, 

Non interpositis urantur corpora flammis ; 806 

Aut, generi si poena iuvat, nemus extrue Pindi, 

Erige congestas Oetaeo robore silvas, 

Thessalicam videat Pompeius ab aequore flammam. 

Nil agis hac ira : tabesne cadavera solvat 

An rogus, baud refert ; placido natura receptat 810 

Cuncta sinu^ finemque sui sibi corpora debent. 

Hos, Caesar^ populos si nunc non usserit ignis, 

Uret cum terris, uret cum gurgite ponti. 

Communis mundo superest rogus ossibus astra 

Mixturus. Quocumque tuam fortuna vocabit, 816 

Hae quoque sunt animae : non altius ibis in auras, 

Non meliore loco Stygia sub nocte iacebis. 

Libera fortunae mors est ; capit omnia tellus. 

Quae genuit ; caelo tegitur, qui non liabet urnam. 

^ Hantiibal gave honourable burial to Aemilius Paullus who 
had fallen in the battle of Cannae. 

* The Stoics taught that the world would be destroyed by 




not see the soil of Emathia, and that the plain 
which his eyes pass over is hidden by carnage. In 
bloodshed he sees his victorious fortune and the 
favour of Heaven. And in his madness, loath to 
lose the welcome sight of his wickedness, he denies 
the wretches a pyre and thrusts the sight of Phar- 
saHa upon the guilty gods. When the Carthaginian 
buried a consul,^ Cannae was lit up by African 
torches ; but that example did not move Caesar to 
observe the rule of humanity in treatment of the 
foe : hifi rage is not yet glutted with the slaughter, 
and he remembers that the men are his own country- 
men. We ask not a pyre for each or a separate 
burning : provide a single fire for all ; let the bodies 
be burnt with one continuous flame ; or, if you wish 
to punish your kinsman, pile up the timber from 
Pindus and build aloft all the oak-trees from Oeta's 
forests, that Pompey may see from his ship the 
blaze of Pharsalia. But Caesar's rage is bootless : 
it matters not whether the corpses are burnt on the 
pyre or decompose with time ; nature finds room for 
them all in her gentle arms, and the dead owe their 
end to themselves alone. If fire does not consume 
this host now, it will consume them hereafter,^ 
together with the earth and the waters of the sea ; 
there remains a conflagration which will destroy all 
the world and bring the stars and dead men's bones 
together. Wliithersoever destiny summons your 
spirit, Caesar, there the spirits of these men are 
also : you will not soar higher than they, you will 
not find any better place, if you lie in Stygian 
darkness. The dead are free from Fortune ; Mother 
Earth has room for all her children, and he who 
lacks an urn has the sky to cover him. But you, 



Tu, cui dant poenas inhumato funere gentes, 820 

Quid fugis banc cladem ? quid olentes deseris agros ? 
Has trahe^ Caesar, aquas ; hoc, si potes, utere caelo. 
Sed tibi tabentes populi Pharsalica rura 
Eripiunt camposque tenent victore fugato. 

Non solum Haemonii funesta ad pabula belli 826 

Bistonii venere lupi tabemque cruentae 
Caedis odorati Pholoen liquere leones. 
Tunc ursae latebras, obscaeni tecta domosque 
Deseruere canes, et quidquid nare sagaci 
Aera non sanum motumque cadavere sentit. 830 

lamque diu volucres civilia castra secutae 
Conveniunt. Vos, quae Nilo mutare soletis 
Threicias hiemes, ad mollem serius Austrum 
Istis, aves. Numquam tanto se volture caelum 
Induit aut plures presserunt aera pinnae. 835 

Omne nemus misit volucres, omnisque cruenta 
Alite sanguineis stillavit roribus arbor. 
Saepe super voltus victoris et inpia signa 
Aut cruor aut alto defluxit ab aethere tabes, 
Membraque deiecit iam lassis unguibus ales. 840 

Sic quoque non omnis populus pervenit ad ossa 
Inque feras discerptus abit ; non intima curant 
Viscera nee totas avide sorbere medullas : 
Degustant artus. Latiae pars maxima turbae 
Fastidita iacet, quam sol nimbique diesque 845 

Longior Emathiis resolutam miscuit arvis. 
Thessalia, infelix, quo tantum crimine, tellus, 



who punish the nations by refusing them burial, 
why do you flee this carnage and abandon these 
pestilential fields? Drink this water, Caesar, and 
breathe this air, if you can. No : the nations that 
turn to corruption there rob you of Pharsalia : they 
have routed the conqueror and possess the field. 

The Bistonian wolves came to the grisly feast 
afforded by the battle in Thessaly, and the lions 
left Pholoe when they scented out the corruption 
of the slain. And not they alone; but bears left 
their dens, obscene dogs came from the dwellings 
and houses of men, and every creature that per- 
ceives by the power of scent air that is unwhole- 
some and tainted with death. The birds that long 
had followed the armies of civil war now flocked 
together. The cranes that each year leave the 
Thracian winter for the Nile were late in migrating 
to the warm south. Never did the sky clothe itself 
with such a host of vultures ; never did more wings 
beat the air. Every wood sent its birds, and when 
the birds were bloodstained, every tree dripped 
with a crimson dew. Rotting flesh or drops of 
blood often fell from the sky upon the face and 
accursed standards of the conqueror, when the 
birds grew weary and dropt the dead limbs from 
- their talons. But even so not all that host was 
picked to the bones or torn and devoured by beasts : 
» bird and beast pay no heed to the inmost organs, 
^''"'and are not eager to suck all the marrow of the 
J bones ; they merely taste the limbs. Most of the 
Roman dead they left to lie unheeded ; but sun and 
rain and time dissolved their bodies and blended 
them with the soil of Thessaly. 

Unhappy land of Thessaly ! what sin of yours 



Laesisti superos, ut te tot mortibus unam. 

Tot scelerum fatis premerent ? quod sufficit aevum, 

Inmemor ut donet belli tibi damna vetustas ? 850 

Quae seges infecta surget non decolor herba? 

Quo non Romanos violabis vomere manes ? 

Ante novae venient acies, scelerique secundo 

Praestabis nondum siccos hoc sanguine campos. 

Omnia maiorum vertamus busta licebit 855 

Et stantes tumulos et qui radice vetusta 

Effudere suas victis conpagibus urnas. 

Plus cinerum Haemoniae sulcis telluris aratur, 

Pluraque ruricolis feriuntur dentibus ossa. 

NuUas ab Emathio religasset litore funem 860 

Navita, nee terram quisquam movisset arator, 

Romani bustum populi, fugerentque coloni 

Umbrarum campos, gregibus dumeta carerent, 

Nullusque auderet pecori permittere pastor 

Vellere surgentem de nostris ossibus herbam, 866 

Ac, velut inpatiens hominum vel solis iniqui 

Limite vel glacie, nuda atque ignota iaceres. 

Si non prima nefas belli sed sola tulisses. 

O superi, liceat terras odisse nocentes. 

Quid totum premitis, quid totum absolvitis orbem ? 870 

Hesperiae clades et flebilis unda Pachyni 

Et Mutina et Leucas puros fecere Philippos. 

» The battle of Philippi. 

« He refers to the following episodes of the Civil Wars: 
(1) the battle of Munda in Spain (45 B.C.) ; (2) the naval 
victories of Agrippa over Sextus Pompeius oflF Sicily in 36 B.C. ; 

(3) the fighting round Mutina (now Modena) in 43 B.C. ; and 

(4) the battle of Actium in 31 B.C. 

* Pharsalia is called Philippi ; see n. to i. 680. 



offended the gods so grievously that they visited 
you beyond otiier lands with such a holocaust of 
victims and such a myriad of deaths in civil war? 
No lapse of time is long enough to make posterity 
forget and forgive the losses which your battle 
wrought; each crop will rise discoloured and with 
tainted blades from your soil ; and all your plough- 
shares will do violence to Roman dead. Mean- 
while, fresh armies will meet, and you will offer your 
plains for a second crime ^ before this blood has 
dried off them. Though we empty out all the 
tombs of our ancestors — both those that are still 
erect, and those which, when their masonry was 
split by ancient roots, spilt their urns—yet the 
plough turns up more relics in the furrows of 
Thessaly, and the harrows that till those fields 
strike against more bones. No sailor would fasten 
his cable to the shore of Thessaly ; no plough- 
man would stir the soil where the Roman people 
lies buried; the husbandmen would flee from 
the haunted plains ; the thickets would shelter no 
flocks, and no shepherd would dare to let his sheep 
crop the grass that grows from Roman bones — 
Thessaly would be an unknown desert, as if icy cold 
or the zone of oppressive heat made it unfit for 
habitation, if it had been the only land, and not 
merely the first, to be the scene of civil war. Ye 
gods, give us the power to curse the country 
that is guilty. Why do ye condemn all the 
world, and so acquit it all? The slaughter in the 
West and the mournful sea of Pachynum, Mutina 
and Leucas,2 have washed away the guilt of 


VOL. I. P 



Iam super Herculeas fauces nemorosaque Tempe 

Haemoniae deserta petens dispendia silvae 

Cornipedem exhaustum cursu stimulisque negantem 

Magnus agens incerta fugae vestigia turbat 

Inplieitasque errore vias. Pavet ille fragorem 6 

Motorum ventis nemorum, comitumque suorum 

Qui post terga redit trepidum laterique timentem 

Exanimat. Quamvis summo de culmine lapsus 

Nondum vile sui pretium scit sanguinis esse, 

Seque, memor fati, tantae mercedis habere 10 

Credit adhuc iugulum, quantam pro Caesaris ipse 

Avolsa cervice daret. Deserta sequentem 

Non patitur tutis fatum celare latebris 

Clara viri facies. Multi, Pharsalica castra 

Cum peterent nondum fama prodente ruinas, 15 

Occursu stupuere ducis vertigine rerum 

Attoniti, cladisque suae vix ipse fidelis 

Auctor erat. Gravis est Magno, quicumque malorura 

Testis adest. Cunctis ignotus gentibus esse 

Mallet et obscuro tutus transire per urbes 20 

Nomine ; scd poenas longi Fortuna favoris 

Exigit a misero, quae tanto pondere famae 

* Legend said that Hercules had cleft the mountains and 
formed the Vale of Tempe: comp. vi, 347. "Beyond" means 
' ' further from the sea." 



And now beyond wooded Tempe, the Gorge of 
Hercules,^ Magnus made by circuitous paths for 
the lonely forests of Thessaly ; as he urged on his 
horse which was worn out by rapid flight and deaf 
to the spur, he confused the traces of his retreat 
and made a labyrinth of his tracks. He dreads the 
sound of the trees in the wind ; and any of his 
comrades who falls back to join him causes him 
terror in his agitation and fear for his own person. 
Though fallen from his lofty eminence, he knows 
that the price of his blood is still high ; and, mind- 
ful of his career, he believes that his death can 
still earn as great a reward as he himself would 
give for the severed head of Caesar. Though he 
seeks solitude, his known features suffer him not 
to hide his disaster in safe concealment. Many who 
were on their way to the camp at Pharsalia, before 
rumour had published his defeat abroad, were 
startled to meet their leader and astounded by the 
sudden change of fortune ; and he was scarcely 
believed when" he reported his own defeat. The 
presence of any witness of his woes was grievous 
to him. He would choose to be unknown to all 
nations, and to pass safely through the cities with 
a name unknown to fame ; but Fortune, who long 
had favoured him, now demands from her victim 
the penalty of that favour ; she throws all the weight 



Res premit adversas fatisque prioribus urguet. 

Nunc festinatos nimium sibi sentit honores 

v\ctaque lauriferae damnat Sullana iuventaCj 26 

Nunc et Corycias classes et Pontica signa 

Deiectum meminisse piget. Sic longius aevum 

Destruit ingentes animoi. et vita superstes 

Imperio. Nisi summa dies cum fine bonorum 

Adfuit et celeri praevertit tristia leto^ 30 

Dedecori est fortuna prior. Quisquamne secundis 

Tradere se fatis audet nisi morte parata ? 

Litora contigerat, per quae Peneius amnis 
Emathia iam clade rubens exibat in aequor. 
Inde ratis trepidum ventis ac fluctibus inpar, 35 

Flumineis vix tuta vadis^ evexit in altum. 
Cuius adhuc remis quatitur Corcyra sinusque 
Leucadii, Cilicum dominus terraeque Liburnae 
Exiguam vector pavidus correpsit in alnum. 
Conscia curarum secretae in litora Lesbi 40 

Flectere vela iubet, qua tunc tellure latebas 
Maestior, in mediis quam si, Cornelia, campis 
Emathiae stares. Tristes praesagia curas 
Exagitant, trepida quatitur formidine somnus, 
Thessaliam nox omnis habet ; tenebrisque remotis 45 
Rupis in abruptae scopulos extremaque curris 
Litora ; proypiciens fluctus nutantia longe 
Semper prima vides venientis vela carinae, 
Quaerere nee quidquam de fate coniugis audes. 
En ratis, ad vestros quae tendit carbasa portus ! 60 

^ Corycus is a promontory in Cilicia. 
2 1.6. "the battle-field." 



of his renown into the scale of adversity and crushes 
him beneath his former successes. Now he feels 
that his honours came too quick upon him ; now he 
curses the exploits of his triumphant youth in 
Sulla's day ; now he hates in his fall to remember 
the fleets of Cilicia^ and the armies of Pontus. 
Thus length of days and life surviving power humble 
the proudest heart. Unless the end of life comes 
together with the end of happiness, and anticipates 
sorrow by speedy death, past greatness is a mockery. 
Does any dare to trust prosperity, except he has the 
means of death at hand ? 

He had reached the shore where the river Peneus, 
already red with the slaughter of Pharsalia, passed 
out into the sea. From there a boat, no match for 
winds and waves and scarcely safe in the shallow 
river, bore him out trembling over the deep. He 
whose oars still churn the waters of Corcyra and 
the bays of Leucas, he, the lord of the Cilicians 
and the Liburnian land, slinks as a frightened 
passenger into a little boat. He bids them bend 
the sail towards the distant shore of Lesbos — the 
shore entrusted with his loved Cornelia ; in that land 
she was hidden, but she was sadder than if she had 
stood in the centre of Pharsalia's field. For her 
sorrow is intensified by forebodings, and her sleep 
broken by anxious fears. Every night brings Phar- 
salia 2 before her ; and, when darkness disappears, 
she hastens to the peak of a steep cliff at the shore's 
edge and looks out over the waves ; she is always 
the first to see the sails of an approaching vessel 
dipping in the distance, but she dare ask no question 
concerning her husband's fate. But see ! a ship 
spreading her sail towards the harbours of Lesbos ] 



Quid ferat, ignoras, et nunc tibi summa pavoris 

Nuntius armorum tristis rumorque sinister. 

Victus adest coniunx. Quid perdis tempora luctus? 

Cum possis iam flere, times. Turn puppe propinqua 

Prosiluit crimcnque deum crudele notavit, 65 

Deformem pailore dueem voltusque prementem 

Canitiem atque atro squalentes pulvere vestes. 

Obvia nox miserae caelum lucemque tenebris 

Abstulit, atque animam clausit dolor ; omnia nervis 

Membra relicta labant, riguerunt corda, diuque 60 

Spe mortis decepta iacet. Iam fune ligato 

Litoribus lustrat vacuas Pompeius harenas. 

Quem postquam propius famulae videre fideles, 

Non ultra gemitus tacitos incessere fatum 

Permisere sibi^ friistraque attollere terra 65 

Semianimem conantur eram ; quam pectore Magnus 

Ambit et astrictos refovet conplexibus artus. 

Coeperat in summum revocato sanguine corpus 

Pompei sentire manus maestamque mariti 

Posse pati faciem : prohibet succumbere fatis 70 

Magnus et inmodicos castigat voce dolores : 

" Nobile cur robur fortunae volnere primo, 

Femina tantorum titulis insignis avorum, 

Frangis ? Habes aditum mansurae in saecula famae. 

Laudis in hoc sexu non legum cura ^ nee arma, 75 

Unica materia est coniunx miser. Erige mentem, 

Et tua cum fatis pietas decertet, et ipsum, 

^ cura Markland : iura M88. 

^ "Darkness" here and often has the sense of "fainting" or 
"unconsciousness"; comp. v. 220. 



What it brings, she knows not; and up till now 
her worst fear is evil news of the war and ominous 
report; but now the messenger is her husband, and 
his message, defeat. Why waste the time when you 
might mourn ? Though you might weep already, you 
only fear. Then, as the ship came close, she sprang 
up and marked the guilt and cruelty of Heaven, 
the ghastly pallor of the general, the white hair 
that hid his face, and the black dust that defiled his 
garments. Darkness^ closed upon her grief and 
robbed her of the light of heaven ; sorrow stopped 
her breath ; betrayed by the muscles, all her limbs 
relaxed, her heart ceased to beat, and long she lay 
deceived by the hope that this was death. Now the 
cable was made fast to the shore, and Pompey trod 
the solitary strand. When her faithful handmaids 
saw him close at hand, they dared not rail at destiny 
except with stifled groans, and tried in vain to lift 
their fainting mistress from the ground ; but Pompey 
folded her in his arms and brings back life to the 
rigid limbs by his embrace. Back came the blood 
to the surface of the body ; she began to be aware 
of Pompey's touch, and to be able to endure the 
sorrowful face of her husband. He forbids her to 
be conquered by destiny and tiius reproves the 
excess of her sorrow : " Adorned as you are by the 
fame of such mighty ancestors, why do you suffer 
the first stroke of Fortune to break down the 
courage of your noble race? Here is your oppor- 
tunity for undying fame. To your sex neither 
peaceful government nor war is a field for glory : a 
husband's sorrow alone can win it. Lift up your 
heart, let your devotion wrestle with destiny, and 
let the very fact that I have been conquered be 



Quod sum victus, ama. Nunc sum tibi gloria maior, 
A me quod fasces et quod pia turba senatus 
Tantaque discessit regum manus : incipe Magnum 
Sola sequi. Deformis adhuc vivente marito 
Summus et augeri vetitus dolor : ultima debet 
Esse fides lugere virum. Tu nulla tulisti 
Bello damna meo : vivit post proelia Magnus 
Sed fortuna perit. Quod defies,, illud amasti." 

Vocibus his correpta viri vix aegra levavit 
Membra solo tales gemitu rumpente querellas : 
" O utinam in thalamos invisi Caesaris issem 
Infelix coniunx et nuUi laeta marito ! 
Bis nocui mundo : me pronuba ducit Erinys 
Crassorumque umbrae, devotaque manibus illis 
Assyrios in castra tuli civilia casus, 
Praecipitesque dedi populos cunctosque fugavi 
A causa meliore deos. O maxime coniunx, 
O thalamis indigne meis, hoc iuris habebat 
In tantum fortuna caput ? cur inpia nupsi. 
Si miserum factura fui ? nunc accipe poenas, 
Sed quas sponte luam : quo sit tibi mollius aequor, 
Certa fides regum totusque paratior orbis. 
Sparge mari comitem. Mallem felicibus armis 
Dependisse caput : nunc clades denique lustra, 
Magne, tuas. Ubicumque iaces civilibus armis 
Nostros ulta toros, ades hue atque exige poenas, 

* See n. to iii. 22, 


dear to you. For 1 bring you greater distinction 
now, when the magistrates and devoted ranks of 
the Senate and all my retinue of kings have parted 
from me : from this time be the sole follower of 
Magnus. The depth of woe, woe that admits of 
no increase, is unbecoming while your husband 
lives ; to mourn him dead should be your last proof 
of fidelity. My defeat has brought no loss to you ; 
for Magnus survives the battle, though his greatness 
has gone ; that which you weep for is what you 
really loved." 

Thus rebuked by her husband, slowly she raised 
her ailing limbs from the ground, and her wailing 
broke out into complaints like these : *' Would that I 
had been wedded to hated Caesar ; for disaster was 
my dower and I have brought happiness to no 
husband. Twice have I brought a curse on man- 
kind ; the Fury and the ghosts of the Crassi ^ gave 
me in marriage ; and I, devoted to those dead, have 

Oi: brought the disaster of Carrhae to the camp of civil 
war, and hurled nations to their doom, and driven 
all Heaven away from the better side. O mighty 
husband, too good for such a wife, had Fortune 
such power over one so great .^ Why was I guilty 
of marrying you, if I was to bring you sorrow? 

BSj Now accept the penalty — a penalty which I will 
gladly pay : that the sea may be smoother for 
you, the kings steadfast in their loyalty, and the 
whole world more ready to serve you, scatter the 
limbs of your companion over the deep. 1 had 
rather have laid down my life to buy you victory ; 
as it is, at least expiate your defeat by my death. 
Let relentless Julia, wherever she is buried, come 
here and exact the penalty; she has punished our 



lulia crudelis, placataque paelice caesa 

Magno parce tuo." Sic fata iterumque refusa 106 

Coniugis in gremium cunctorum lumina solvit 

In lacrimas. Duri flectuntur pectora Magni, 

Siccaque Tliessalia confudit lumina Lesbos. 

Tunc Mytilenaeum pleno iam litore volgus 
Adfatur Magnum : " Si maxima gloria nobis 110 

Semper erit tanti pignus servasse mariti, 
Tu quoque devotos sacro tibi foedere muros 
Oramus sociosque lares dignere vel una 
Nocte tua : fac, Magne, locum, quern cuncta revisant 
Saecula, quem veniens hospes ilomanus adoret. 116 

Nulla tibi subeunda magis sunt moenia victo : 
Omnia victoris possunt sperare favorem, 
Haec iam crimen habent. Quid, quod iacet insula ponto, 
Caesar eget ratibus ? procerum pars magna coibit 
Carta loci, note reparandum est litore fatuni. 120 

Accipe templorum cultus aurumque deorum ; 
Accipe, si terris, si puppibus ista iuventus 
Aptior est ; tota, quantum valet, utere Lesbo. 
Accipe : ne Caesar rapiat, tu victus habeto. 
Hoc solum crimen meritae bene detrahe terrae, 126 

Ne nostram videare fidem felixque secutus 
Et damnasse miser." Tali pietate virorum 
Laetus in adversis et mundi nomine gaudens 
Esse fidem " Nullum toto mihi " dixit "in orbe 

1 By having sheltered Cornelia. 


marriage by civil strife ; let her be appeased by the 
death of her rival and spare Magnus when he is 
hers." With these words she fell back into her 
husband's arms, and the eyes of all were melted to 
tears. The stern heart of Magnus was moved, and 
Lesbos made wet the eyes that were dry at Pharsalia. 
Next the people of Mytilene, who had now 
flocked to the shore, addressed Magnus thus : 
"Since it will ever be our chief boast to have 
guarded the treasure of so great a husband, do you 
also honour the city bound to you by sacred ties, 
and deem our friendly dwellings worthy to shelter 
you for one night at least. Make this a place of 
pilgrimage for all ages, a place where strangers 
may come from Rome and worship. No city is 
more fit for you to enter after defeat : though all 
others may hope for the clemency of the conqueror, 
ours is already guilty.^ Besides, Lesbos is an island, 
and Caesar has no fleet. Most of the senators, 
knowing where to find you, will gather here ; 
you must make good your failure on this famous 
shore. Take the ornaments of our temples and the 
treasure of our gods ; take our manhood's strength, 
to use on land or at sea, wherever it is most service- 
able ; make use of all Lesbos to the utmost of her 
power. Accept our gifts ; though conquered, take 
them that Caesar may not rob us of them. Only 
of this charge acquit a land that has served you 
well : let it not appear that in adversity you doubted 
our loyalty which you appealed to in your good 
fortune." Cheered in his hour of defeat to find 
such devotion, and glad, for the sake of humanity, 
that loyalty still existed, Pompey replied : " By a 
most dear pledge I have proved to you that no land 



Gratius esse solum non parvo pignore vobis 130 

Ostendi : tenuit nostros hac obside Lesbos 

Adfectus ; hie sacra domus carique penates, 

Hie mihi Roma fuit. Non ulla in litora puppem 

Ante dedi fugienSj saevi cum Caesaris iram 

lam scirem meritam servata coniuge Lesbon, 135 

Non veritus tantam veniae committere vobis 

Materiam. Sed iam satis est fecisse nocentes : 

Fata mihi totum mea sunt agitanda per orbem. 

Heu nimium felix aeterno nomine Lesbos, 

Sive doces populos regesque admittere Magnum, 140 

Seu praestas mihi sola fidem. Nam quaerere certum est, 

Fas quibus in terris, ubi sit scelus. Accipe, numen 

Si quod adhuc mecum es, votorum extrema meorum : 

Da similes Lesbo populos, qui Marte subactum 

Non intrare suos infesto Caesare portus, 146 

Non exire vetent.*' Dixit maestamque carinae 

Inposuit comitem. Cunctos mutare putares 

Tellurem patriaeque solum : sic litore toto 

Plangitur, infestae tenduntur in aethera dextrae. 

Pompeiumque minus, cuius fortuna dolorem 150 

Moverat, ast illam, quam toto tempore belli 

Ut civem videre suam, discedere cernens 

Ingemuit populus ; quam vix, si castra mariti 

Victoris peteret, siccis dimittere matres 

lam poterant oculis : tan to devinxit amore 155 

Hos pudor, hos probitas castique modestia voltus, 

Quod summissa animis,^ nulli gravis hospita turbae, 

^ animis Heinsius : nimis M8S. 

1 His own person, which they might betray to Caesar. 


on earth is more acceptable to me : Lesbos held my 
heart, while Cornelia was your hostage ; Lesbos was 
my hearth and home, all that was dear and sacred ; 
Lesbos was Rome to me. To no other shore did I 
first direct my vessel in my flight; and, though I 
knew that Lesbos had already earned Caesar's anger 
by keeping safe my wife, I did not fear to put in 
your hands so mighty a means ^ of gaining his for- 
giveness. But here I must call a halt and make 
you guilty no more. My own future I must follow 
up over all the world. Ah, too happy Lesbos, and 
famous for ever, whether she teaches other nations 
and kings to harbour me or alone proves faithful to 
me. For I am resolved to search the world and find 
out where goodness is, and where crime. Hear my 
last prayer, ye gods, if any god is still upon my 
side : may I find nations like to Lesbos, who will 
suffer a defeated man, pursued by Caesar, to enter 
their ports and also suffer him to sail out again." 
Thus he spoke and set his sorrowing companion on 
board. One might have thought that all the people 
were leaving their native soil for a foreign land ; such 
wailing rose from all the shore ; and menacing hands 
were stretched towards heaven. Pompey's departure 
they felt less — his ill-fortune only had stirred their 
grief; but when they saw Cornelia leaving them, 
Cornelia whom throughout the war they looked on 
as one of themselves, tlien the people groaned 
aloud ; if she had sought the camp of a victorious 
husband, scarce could the matrons have parted from 
her without tears ; with such love had she attached 
some by her gentleness, others by her goodness 
and her pure and modest looks, because, humble of 
heart and a burdensome guest to none of the 



Stantis adbuc fati vixit quasi coniuge victo. 

lam pelago medios Titan demissus ad ignes 
Nee qiiibus abscondit, nee si quibus exerit orbem, 160 
Totus erat. Vigiles Pompei pectore curae 
Nunc soeias adeunt Romani foederis urbes 
Et varias regum mentes, nune invia mundi 
Arva super nimios soles Austrumque iacentis. 
Saepe labor maestus curarum odiumque futuri 166 

Proiecit fessos incerti pectoris aestus, 
Rectoremque ratis de cunctis consulit astris, 
Unde notet terras, quae sit mensura secandi 
Aequoris in caelo, Syriara quo sidere servet, 
Aut quotus in Plaustro Libyam bene derigat ignis. 170 
Doctus ad haec fatur taciti servator Olynipi : 
''Signifero quaecumque fluunt labentia caelo 
Numquam stante polo miseros fallentia nautas, 
Sidera non sequimur ; sed, qui non mergitur undis 
Axis inocciduus gemina clarissimus Arcto, 176 

lile regit puppes. Hie cum mihi semper in altum 
Surget et instabit summis minor Ursa ceruchis, 
Bosporon et Scythiae curvantem litora Pontum 
Spectamus. Quidquid descendet ab arbore summa 
Arctophylax propiorque mari Cynosura feretur, 180 

In Syriae portus tendit ratis. Inde Canopos 
Excipit, australi caelo contenta vagari. 

* The Antipodes, whose existence was denied by some of the 



people, she lived, while her husband's fortune stood 
firm, as if he had been conquered already. 

By now the sun had sunk half his ball of fire in 
the sea, and his disc was not wholly seen either by 
those from wiiora he withdrew it, or by those, if 
such there be,^ to whom he revealed it. The care 
that kept watch in Pompey's breast turned at one 
time to the allied cities in league with Rome and 
to the wavering allegiance of the kings, at another 
time to the pathless lands of the region that lies 
beyond the burning suns of the south. So sad and 
weary were his thougiits, such his loathing of the 
morrow, that often he threw off the heavy load 
of his conflicting purposes, and questioned the 
steersman concerning all the stars; by what star 
does he mark the land } what rule and measure 
for cleaving the sea does the sky afford? by what 
star does he keep a course to Syria ? or which of the 
seven stars in the Wain is a sure guide to Libya? 
The skilled watcher of the silent sky replied to him 
thus: "All those lights which move and glide 
through the starry heavens mislead the hapless 
seaman, because the sky is ever shifting ; to them 
we pay no heed ; but the pole-star, which never 
sets or sinks beneath the waves, the brightest star 
in the two Bears, he it is that guides our course. 
When I see him mount ever towards the zenith, 
and when the Little Bear rises above the towering 
yards, then we face towards the Bosporus and the 
Black Sea that hollows the Scythian shore. But 
whenever Bootes sinks from the topmast and the 
Little Bear moves nearer the horizon, the ship is 
making for the ports of Syria. Next after that 
conies Canopus, a star that shuns the North and 



Stella, timens Borean : ilia quoque perge sinistra 
Trans Pharon, in medio tanget ratis aequore Syrtim. 
Sed quo vela dari, quo nunc pede carbasa tendi 185 

Nostra iubes ? " Dubio contra cui pectore Magnus 
" Hoc solum toto " respondit "in aequore serva, 
Ut sit ab Emathiis semper tua longius oris 
Puppis, et Hesperiam pelago caeloque relinquas : 
Cetera da ventis. Comitem pignusque recepi 190 

Depositum ; turn certus eram, quae litora vellem. 
Nunc portum fortuna dabit." Sic fatur ; at ille 
lusto vela modo pendentia cornibus acquis 
Torsit et in laevum puppim dedit, utque secaret 
Quas Asinae cautes et quas Chios asperat undas 195 

Hos dedit in proram, tenet hos in puppe rudentes. 
Aequora senserunt motus aliterque secante 
lam pelagus rostro nee idem spectante carina 
Mutavere sonum. Non sic moderator equorum, 
Dexteriore rota laevum cum circumit axem, 200 

Cogit inoffensae currus accedere metae. 
Ostendit terras Titan et sidera texit. 
Sparsus ab Emathia fugit quicumque procella, 
Adsequitur Magnum ; primusque a litore Lesbi 
Occurrit natus, procerum mox turba fidelis. 206 

Nam neque deiecto fatis acieque fugato 
Abstulerat Magno reges fortuna ministros : 
Terrarum dominos et sceptra Eoa tenentes 
Exul habet comites. lubet ire in devia mundi 

A This place is not mentioned elsawhere. 

* With the result that they took a southern course. 
' The left wheel acts as a pivot. 

* Sextus, his younger son ; Guaeus, the elder son, was now at 
Corcyra with the fleet. 


limits its wanderings to the southern sky ; if you 
keep it on the left and sail on past Pharos, your 
vessel will strike the Syrtis in mid-ocean. But 
whither do you bid me shape our course, and with 
which sheet shall the canvas be stretched ? " With 
unsettled purpose, Magnus answered him thus : 
"Wherever we sail, be this your only care, to turn 
your bark ever further from the shore of Thessaly, 
and to leave the West behind in sailing and steer- 
ing ; all else trust to the winds. I have taken 
on board my companion, the pledge I left for safety ; 
then I had no doubt what shore to make for, but 
now chance must provide a harbour." Thus he 
spoke ; and the steersman tugged at the sails that 
hung in equal lengths from the level yard-arms, and 
turned the vessel to the left ; and, that she might 
cleave the waves made rough by Chios and the 
rocks of Asina,^ he slackened the ropes at the bow 
and made tiut those at the stern. ^ The sea was 
conscious of the movement and gave a different 
sound, when the beak cut the water in a new 
direction and the ship's course was altered. With 
less skill the charioteer makes the right wheel spin 
round the left,^ and forces his car close to the turning- 
post without striking it. 

The sun revealed the earth and veiled the stars. 
All who had fled far and wide from the fatal field 
of Pharsalia rallied round Magnus ; first to meet 
him, after he quitted the shore of Lesbos, Avas his 
son,* and next came his loyal band of senators ; for 
even when cast down by destiny and routed in 
battle, he was not deprived by Fortune of kings to 
serve him : the exile was escorted by the lords 
of earth and the monarchs of the East. Deiotarus, 



Deiotarum, qui sparsa ducis vestigia legit. 210 

" Quando " ait " Emathiis amissus cladibus orbis. 

Qua Romanus erat, superest, fidissime regum, 

Eoam temptare fidem populosque bibentes 

Euphraten et adhuc securum a Caesare Tigrim. 

Ne pigeat Magno quaerentem fata remotas 215 

Medorum penetrare domos Scythicosque recessus 

Et totum mutare diem, vocesque superbo 

Arsacidae perferre meas : * Si foedera nobis 

Prisca manent mihi per Latium iurata Tonantem, 

Per vestros astricta magos, inplete pharetras 220 

Armeniosque arcus Geticis intendite nervis. 

Si vos, o Partbi, petereni cum Caspia claustra 

Et sequerer duros aeterni Martis Alanos, 

Passus Achaemeniis late decurrere cam pis 

In tutam trepidos numquam Babylona coegi. 225 

Arva super Cyri Ciialdaeique ultima regni 

Qua rapidus Ganges et qua Nysaeus Hydaspes 

Accedunt pelago, Phoebi surgentis ab igne 

lam propior quam Persis eram : tamen omnia vincens 

Sustinui nostris vos tantum desse triumphis, 230 

Solusque e numero regum telluris Eoae 

Ex aequo me Parthus adit. Nee munere Magni 

Stant semel Arsacidae ; quis enim post volnera cladis 

Assyriae iustas Latii conpescuit iras ? 

Tot meritis obstricta meis nunc Parthia ruptis 235 

Excedat claustris vetitam per saecula ripam 

^ A compact epigram : loyalty is due from subjects to kings, 
but the Eastern kings were Ponipey's subjects. This mission of 
Deiotarus must have been invented by Lucan. 

* Arsaces XIII was then king of the Paithiaus who are here 
and often called " Medea " 

* See n. to i I ' 

* Carrhae, 53 a.o. 



who had tracked his leader through his wanderings, 
he bade repair to the ends of tiie earth. ^' Since/' 
said he " the world, so far as it was Roman, has been 
lost by the disaster of Pharsalia, it remains, O most 
loyal of my kings,^ to test the allegiance of the 
East, of the nations who drink the Euphrates and 
the Tigris, rivers as yet unmolested by Caesar. 
Seeking success for me, refuse not to explore the 
distant home of the Medes and remote Scythia ; be 
willing to change your clime completely, and bear 
to the proud scion of Arsaces ^ this message from 
me : * If our ancient treaty holds good — the treaty 
which I swore to observe in the name of the Roman 
Thunderer, and which was made fast by your Wise 
Men — then fill full your quivers, and stretch the 
bows of Armenia with the strings of the Getae ; for, 
when I marched towards the Caspian Gates and 
pursued the hardy Alani, ever at war, I suffered the 
Parthian s to ride at will over the Persian plains and 
never forced them to take hasty refuge in Babylon.^ 
I passed the realm of Cyrus and the uttermost parts 
of the Chaldean kingdom, where the impetuous 
Ganges and Nysaeaii Hydaspes join the sea ; and 
I was nearer to the flame of the rising sun than 
Persia is ; though I was everywhere victorious, I 
forbore to add the Parthians, and them alone, to 
the list of my triumphs ; and, alone among the 
kings of the East, the Parthian approached me on 
equal terms. And a second time, thanks to me, 
the sons of Arsaces were saved. For who else 
curbed the righteous anger of Rome that followed 
the blow of the defeat in Assyria ? * Now let 
Parthia, bound by so many benefits from me, burst 
her bounds, to cross the bank forbidden for many 



Zeugmaque Pellaeum. Pompeio vincite, Parthi, 

Vinci Roma volet.' " Regem parere iubenti 

Ardua non piguit, positisque insignibus aulae 

Egreditur famulo raptos indutus amictus. 240 

In dubiis tutum est inopem simulare tyranno ; 

Quanto igitur mundi dominis seeurius aevum 

Verus pauper agit ! Dimisso in litore rege 

Ipse per Icariae scopulos, Ephesonque relinquens 

Et placidi Colophona maris, spumantia parvae 246 

Radit saxa Sami ; spirat de litore Coo 

Aura fluens ; Cnidon inde fugit claramque relinquit 

Sole Rliodon magnosque sinus Telmessidos undae 

Conpensat medio pelagi. Pamphylia puppi 

Occurrit tellus, nee se committere muris 260 

Ausus adliuc ullis, te primum, parva Phaseli, 

Magnus adit ; nam te metui vetat incola rarus 

Exhaustaeque domus populis, maiorque carinae 

Quam tua turba fuit. Tendens hinc carbasa rursus 

lam Taurum Tauroque videt Dipsunta cadentem. 266 

Crederet hoc Magnus, pacem cum praestitit undis, 
Et sibi consultum ? Cilicum per litora tutus 
Parva puppe fugit. Sequitur pars magna senatus 
Ad profugum collecta ducem ; parvisque Syhedris, 
Quo portu mittitque rates recipitque Selinus, 260 

In procerum coetu tandem maesta ora resolvit 
Vocibus his Magnus : " Comites bellique fugaeque 

Over the Euphrates. 
They had gone to the war. 
Perhaps the name of a waterfall. 
By suppressing piracy. 




centuries and pass the Bridge of Alexander.^ If 
the Parthians conquer for Pompey's sake, Rome 
will welcome her conqueror.' " Hard was the task 
enjoined, but the king did not refuse ; he laid aside 
the badges of royalty and left the ship, wearing 
garments taken in haste from a menial. In danger 
a king finds safety in the disguise of a beggar ; how 
much safer then is the lot of the really poor man 
than that of the lords of earth ! The king was set 
ashore ; and Pompey himself sailed past the rocks 
of Icaria, and skirted the foaming cliffs of little 
Samos, shunning Ephesus and Colophon with their 
calm waters ; the breeze blew fresh from the shore 
of Cos ; next he avoided Cnidos and Rhodes, famous 
island of the sun, and shortened the long circuit 
of the bay of Telmessus by keeping the open sea. 
The land of Pamphylia now confronted his vessel ; 
so far he had not dared to trust himself to any city, 
but now he entered the walls of little Phaselis ; for 
she was robbed of her terrors by her scanty popula- 
tion, and her houses were drained of their inhabi- 
tants ; 2 there were more men on board the ship 
than in all the town. From hence he set sail again, 
and soon came in view of Mount Taurus and Dipsus ^ 
falling down the mountain-side. 

Could Magnus have believed, when he gave peace 
to the sea,* that he would profit by it himself.'* 
Now he flees unharmed along the coast of the 
pirates in his little vessel. He was followed by a 
number of senators who rallied round their fugitive 
leader ; and at little Syhedra — the harbour which 
sends forth and receives again the ships of Selinus — 
Magnus at last opened his sorrowful lips at a 
meeting of the nobles, and spoke thus : " Comrades 



Atque instar patriae, quamvis in litore nudo. 

In Cilicum terra, nullis circumdatus armis 

Consultem rebusque novis exordia quaeram, 265 

Ingentes praestate animos. Non omnis in arvis 

Emathiis cecidi, nee sic mea fata premuntur, 

Ut nequeam relevare caput cladesque recej)tas 

Excutere. An Libycae Marium potuere ruinae 

Erigere in fasces et plenis reddere fastis, 270 

Me pulsum leviore manu fortuna tenebit? 

Mille meae Graio volvuntur in aequore puppes, 

Mille duces ; sparsit potius Pharsalia nostras 

Quam subvertit opes. Sed me vel sola tueri 

Fama potest rerum, toto quas gessimus orbe, 276 

Et nomen, quod mundus amat. Vos pendite regna 

Viribus atque fide Libyam Parthosque Pharonque, 

Queinnam Roraanis deceat succurrere rebus. 

Ast ego curarum vobis arcana mearum 

Expromam mentisque meae quo pondera vergant. 280 

Aetas Niliaci nobis suspecta tyranni est, 

Ardua quippe fides robustos exigit annos. 

Hinc anceps dubii terret sollertia Mauri ; 

Namque memor generis Carthaginis inj^ia proles 

Inminet Hesperiae, multusque in pectore vano est 285 

Hannibal, obliquo maculat qui sanguine regnum 

Et Numidas contingit avos. lam supplice Varo 

Intumuit viditque loco Romana secundo. 

1 Comp. ii. 91 f. 

* Piolemy XII was thirteen at this time. 

' Juba, king of Numidia, who, according to Lucan, hoped to 
be a second Hannibal. 

* Juba's ancestor, Masinissa, married the Carthaginian 
Sophonisba, daughter of a Hasdru^al (who may have been related 
to Hannibal), but she had no children by him. 



in battle and in flight, you who represent our 
country, though I, who ask your counsel and seek 
to set a new enterprise on foot, stand here on a 
barren shore in the land of Cilicia, and have no 
armies round me, yet hear me with proud hearts. 
I did not fall for ever on the field of Pharsalia ; nor 
has my destiny sunk so low that I can never again 
raise my head and shake off the defeat I have 
suffered. If the ruins of Carthage could raise 
Marius ^ to office and replace him in the Calendar, 
full already of his name, shall Fortune keep me 
down, whom she has smitten with a lighter blow ? 
Mine are a thousand ships that toss on Grecian 
waters, and mine a thousand leaders ; Pharsalia 
scattered my resources but did not overthrow them. 
If it had, I could find safety merely in the fame 
of the mighty deeds I wrought over all the earth, 
and in that name which the whole world loves. It 
is for you to weigh well the kingdoms in point of 
strength and loyalty — Libya, Parthia, and Egypt- - 
and to decide who may with honour retrieve the 
fortunes of Rome. But I will unveil to you my 
own secret thoughts and the purpose to which 
the balance of my mind inclines. I mistrust the 
youth of the Egyptian king ; ^ for dangerous loyalty 
requires the years of manhood. Next, I fear the 
Si' two-faced cunning of the fickle Moor;^ for that 
impious son of Carthage, mindful of his pedigree, 
threatens Italy, and his empty head is full of 
Hannibal — Hannibal, who by collateral descent dis- 
graces the dynasty and is related to his Numidian 
ancestors.* Already, when Varus begged his aid, 
; Juba swelled with pride to see Rome take the 
second place. Therefore, my companions, let us 



Quare a^te Eoum, comites, properemus in orbem. 

Dividit Euphrates ingentem gurgite miindum, 290 

Caspiaque iiimensos seducunt claustra recessus, 

Et polus Assyrias alter noctesque diesque 

Vertitj et abruptum est nostro 7nare discolor unda 

Oceanusque suus. Pugnandi ^ sola voluptas. 

Celsior in campo sonipes et fortior arcus, 295 

Nee puer aut senior letales tendere nervos 

Segnis, et a nulla mors est incerta sagitta. 

Primi Pellaeas arcu fregere sarisas 

Bactraque, Medorum sedem, murisque superbam 

Assyrias Babylona domos. Nee pila timentur 300 

Nostra nimis Parthis, audentque in bella venire 

Experti Scythicas Crasso pereunte pharetras. 

Spicula nee solo spargunt fidentia ferro, 

Stridula sed multo saturantur tela veneno; 

Volnera parva nocent, fatumque in sanguine summo est. 

O utinam non tanta mihi fiducia saevis 306 

Esset in Arsacidis ! fatis nimis aemula nostris 

Fata movent Medos, multumque in gente deorum est. 

EfFundam populos alia tellure revolsos 

Excitosque suis inmittam sedibus ortus. 310 

Quod si nos Eoa fides et barbara fallent 

Foedera, volgati supra commercia mundi 

Naufragium fortuna ferat : non regna preeabor. 

Quae feci. Sat magna feram solacia mortis 

Orbe iacens alio, nihil haec in membra cruente, 316 

* Pugnandi Quietus : Regnandi M88. 

^ The Persian Gulf seems to be confused with the Red Sea. 
* The soldiers of the Macedonian phalanx were armed with 
the sarisa^ a long pike. 



be up and hasten to the Eastern cHme. The waters 
of the Euphrates shut off from us a mighty world, 
and the Caspian Gates hide boundless solitudes ; in 
Assyria a different hemisphere makes the changes 

h- of night and day ; they have an ocean of their own, 
and a sea severed from ours and unlike in the 
colour of its water.^ Their one passion is for war. 
Tall is their warhorse on the plain, and strong their 
bow ; youth and age are quick to stretch the deadly 

It string, and death follows sure from every shaft. 
Their archers were the first to break the Macedonian 
phalanx,^ and they took Bactra, the seat of the 
Medes, and Babylon, the city of Assyria, with her 
proud walls. Nor is the Roman javelin much 
dreaded by the Parthians ; but they come boldly 
to battle, having proved their Scythian quivers on 
the day when Crassus fell. And the shafts which 
they shower do not depend on steel alone, but their 
hurtling missiles are thoroughly steeped in poison. 

^ Even a slight wound is fatal, and death is in a mere 
scratch. (Would that my belief in the power of the 
cruel sons of Arsaces were not so strong ! The 
destiny which controls the Medes rivals too closely 
that of Rome, and their nation is greatly blessed 

t>i of Heaven.) 1 shall pour forth nations uprooted 
from another land ; I shall summon all the East 
from its habitations and hurl it against my foe. 
But if the loyalty of the East and my treaty with 
the barbarians shall fail me, then let chance bear 
my shattered fortunes beyond the trodden high- 
ways of the world. I will not sue to the kings I 
made. If I fall at the end of the earth, this wilj 
be sufficient consolation for my death, that Caesar 
has been guilty of no outrage against my corpse, 



Nil socerum fecisse pie. Sed cuncta revolvens 
Vitae fata meae, semper veiierabilis ilia 
Orbis parte fui, quantus Maeotida supra, 
Quantus apud Tanaim toto conspectus in ortu ! 
Quas magis in terras nostrum felicibus actis 320 

Nomen abit, aut unde redi ^ maiore triumplio ? 
Roma, fave coeptis ; quid enim tibi laetius umquam 
Praestiterint superi, quam, si civilia Partho 
Milite bella geras, tantam consumere gentem 
Et nostris miscere mails ? Cum Caesaris arma 326 

Concurrent Medis, aut me fortuna necesse est 
Vindicet aut Crassos." Sic fatus murmure sensit 
Consilium damnasse viros ; quos Lentulus omnes 
Virtutis stimulis et nobilitate dolendi 
Praecessit dignasque tulit modo consule voces : 330 

" Sicine Thessalicae mentem fregere ruinae ? 
Una dies mundi damnavit fata ? secundum 
Emathiam lis tanta datur ? iacet omne cruenti 
Volneris auxilium ? solos tibi, Magne, reliquit 
Parthorum fortuna pedes ? quid transfuga mundi, 336 
Terrarum totos tractus caelumque perosus, 
Aversosque polos alienaque sidera quaeris, 
Chaldaeos culture focos et barbara sacra, 
Parthorum famulus ? quid causa obtenditur armis 
Libertatis amor ? miserum quid decipis orbem, 340 

Si servire potes ? te, quem Romana regentem 
Horruit auditu, quem captos ducere reges 
Vidit ab Hyrcanis, Indoque a litore, silvis, 

* redi Lachmann : redit MSS. 

* Funeral rites, if performed by Caesar, would be only a 
crowning insult. 

* In 49 B.C. Heitland describes this speech as "good of its 
kind but too long by half." 



and guilty of no respect.^ But when I review the 
whole story of my life, I was ever worshipful in 
that Eastern world : how great was I beyond the 
Maeotian Mere and by the Tanais, the cynosure of all 
the East ! Into no lands did my name go forth with 
more glorious exploits, and from none did I return 
more triumphant. Rome, smile on my enterprise ! 
for no greater boon can Heaven confer on you 
than that you should use Parthians to fight your 
civil wars, and so destroy that great nation and 
make them share our calamities. When Caesar's 
armies clash with the Medes, the issue must avenge 
either me or the Crassi." Thus he spoke ; but he 
perceived by their muttering that the meeting had 
condemned his plan. Lentulus was superior to 
them all in keen sense of honour and generous 
indignation ; and thus he spoke in terms befitting 
one who had just been consul : ^ " Has the defeat 
of Pharsalia so utterly broken your spirit ? Has a 
single day fixed the world's destiny } Is the mighty 
issue to be decided by the result of Pharsalia ? Is 
all cure for our bleeding wound impossible ? Plas 
Fortune left you no course, Magnus, save to fall 
5(^; at the Parthians' feet ? Why do you fly from our 
world, and shun whole regions of earth and sky ? 
why seek a heaven turned from ours and foreign 
stars, in order to worship Chaldaean fires with 
savage rites, and to serve Parthians } Why was the 
love of freedom put forward as the pretext of war ? 
Why thus deceive a suffering world, if you can 
stoop to be a slave to any ? The Parthian king 
heard your name and trembled when you were 
ruler of Rome, and saw you lead kings captive from 
the Hyrcanian forests and Indian shores; shall he 



Deiectum fatis, humilem fractumque videbit 

Rex tolletque ^ animos Latium vaesanus in orbem 345 

Se simul et Romam Pompeio supplice mensus ? 

Nil animis fatisque tuis effabere dignum : 

Exiget ignorans Latiae commercia linguae, 

Ut lacrimis se, Magne, roges. Patimurne pudoris 

Hoc volnus, clades ut Parthia vindicet ante 350 

Hesperias^ quam Roma suas ? civilibus armis 

Elegit te nempe ducem : quid volnera nostra 

In Scythicos spargis populos cladesque latentes ? 

Quid Parthos transire doces ? solacia tanti 

Perdit Roma mali, nullos admittere reges 355 

Sed civi servire suo. luvat ire per orbem 

Ducentem saevas Romana in moenia gentes 

Signaque ab Euphrate cum Crassis capta sequentem ? 

Qui solus regum fato celante favorem 

Defuit Emathiae, nunc tantas ille lacesset 360 

Auditi victoris opes aut iungere fata 

Tecum, Magne, volet? Non haec fiducia genti est. 

Omnis in Arctois populus quicumque pruinis 

Nascitur, indomitus bellis et mortis amator : 

Quidquid ad Eoos tractus mundique teporem 365 

Ibitur, emoUit gentes dementia caeli. . 

Illic et laxas vestes et fluxa virorum 

Velamenta vides. Parthus per Medica rura, 

Sarmaticos inter campos effusaque piano 

Tigridis arva solo, nulli superabilis hosti est 370 

^ Rex tolletque Housman : Extolletque M8S. 

^ The battle of Pharsalia : there is no reference to Carrbae. 


now see you cast down by destiny _, a beaten, broken 
man, and raise his mad ambition against the Roman 
world, measuring himself and Rome together by the 
prayers of Pompey ? You will utter nothing worthy 
of your pride and past history ; unskilled to com- 
municate in the Latin tongue, he will require you, 
Magnus, to appeal to him by your tears. Must we 
endure this stain upon our honour, that Parthia 
shall forestall Rome in avenging Rome's own disaster 
in the West ? ^ Rome chose you surely as a leader 
for civil war only : why do you publish among the 
Scythian nations our mutual sufferings and disasters, 
of which they were ignorant ? Why do you teach 
the Parthians to cross the Euphrates ? Thus Rome 
loses the one mitigation of her great suffering — that 
she submits to no foreign ruler but owns a son 
of her own as master. Does it please you to march 
across the world against the walls of Rome, with 
savage nations at your back, and preceded by the 
standards taken together with the Crassi at the 
Euphrates? One king alone was absent from 
Pharsalia, while Fortune still concealed her pre- 
ference ; and will he now challenge the mighty 
strength of the conqueror when he hears tidings 
of his triumph ? Will he now be willing to make 
common cause with you ? Such self-reliance does 
not belong to that people. Every native of the 
Northern snows is vehement in war and courts 
death ; but every step you go towards the East 
and the torrid zone, the people grow softer as the 
sky grows kinder. There one sees loose garments 
and flowing robes worn even by men. In the 
smiling land of Media, amid the plains of Sarmatia, 
and in the level lands that extend by the Tigris, 



Libertate fugae ; sed non, ubi terra tumebit, 

Aspera conscendet mentis iuga, nee per opacas 

Bella geret tenebras incerto debilis arcu. 

Nee franget nando violent! vorticis amnem. 

Nee tota in pugna perfusus sanguine membra 375 

Exiget aestivum calido sub pulvere solem. 

Non aries illis, non uUa est machina belli, 

Aut fossas inplere valent, Parthoque sequent! 

Murus erit quodcumque potest obstare sagittae. 

Pugna levis bellumque fugax turmaeque vagantes, 380 

Et ihelior cessisse loco quam pellere miles ; 

Inlita tela dolis, nee Martem comminus usquam 

Ansa pat! virtus, sed longe tendere nervos 

Et, quo ferre velint, permittere volnera ventis. 

Ensis habet vires, et gens quaecumque virorum 386 

Bella gerit gladiis. Nam Medos proelia prima 

Exarmant vacuaque iubent remeare pharetra. 

Nulla manus illis, fiducia tota veneni est. 

Credis, Magne, viros, quos in discrimina belli 

Cum ferro misisse parum est ? temptare pudendum 390 

Auxilium tanti est, toto divisus ut orbe 

A terra moriare tua, tibi barbara tell us 

Incumbat, te parva tegant ac vilia busta, 

Invidiosa tamen Crasso quaerente sepulchrum ? 

Sed tua sors levior, quoniam mors ultima poena est 395 

Nee metuenda viris. At non Cornelia letum 

^ Due to ravines or woods, not the darkness of night. 


the Parthian cannot be conquered by any foe, 
because he has room for flight ; but, where earth 
rises in hills, he will never climb the rough mountain 
ridges, nor fight on through thick darkness ^ when 
crippled by the failure of his bow, nor stem a river 
in fierce eddy by swimming ; nor, when every limb 
is drenched in blood of battle, will he endure the 
long summer day beneath the stifling dust. They 
have no battering-rams and no war-engines of any 
kind, and no strength to level ditches ; but any 
defence that can keep out an arrow will be a wall 
against pursuing Parthians. Their battle is a skir- 
mish, they flee while fighting, their squadrons rove 
at large. Their soldiers are more swift to yield 
their own ground than to dislodge the foe from his. 
Their missiles are smeared with guile ; their valour 
nowhere dares to face the enemy at close quarters, 
but only to draw the bow at a distance and suffer 
the winds to carry their weapons whither they will. 
Strength belongs to the sword, and every manly 
race uses cold steel to fight with. But the first 
hour of battle disarms the Parthians and bids them 
retreat with emptied quivers. All their reliance is 
on poison, and none on the strong hand. Do you 
count those as men, Magnus, who are not content 
to face the risk of battle with the steel alone ? Is 
it worth your while to seek a shameful alliance, 
in order that you may die parted by the whole 
world from your country, that foreign earth may 
rest upon your bones, that a tomb may cover you, 
poor indeed and petty, but yet shameful while 
Crassus seeks burial in vain ? But your lot is easier, 
since death, the utmost penalty, is not terrible to 
the brave. But death is not what Cornelia has to 


VOL. I. Q 


Infando sub rege timet. Num barbara nobis 

Est ignota Venus, quae ritu caeca ferarum 

Polluit innumeris leges et foedera taedae 

Coniugibus, thalamique patent secreta nefandi 400 

Inter mille nurus ? Epulis vaesana meroque 

Regia non ullis exceptos legibus audet 

Concubitus : tot femineis conplexibus unum 

Non lassat nox tota marem. lacuere sorores 

In regum thalamis sacrataque pignora matres. 405 

Damnat apud gentes sceleris non sponte peracti 

Oedipodionias infelix fabula Thebas : 

Parthorum dominus quotiens sic sanguine mixto 

Nascitur Arsacides ! cui fas inplere parentem. 

Quid rear esse nefas? Proles tam clara Metelli 410 

Stabit barbarico coniunx millesima lecto. 

Quamquam non ulli plus regia, Magne, vacabit 

Saevitia stimulata Venus titulisque virorum ; 

Nam, quo plura iuvent Parthum portenta, fuisse 

Hanc sciet et Crassi ; ceu pridem debita fatis 416 

Assyriis trahitur cladis captiva vetustae. 

Haereat Eoae volnus miserabile sortis, 

Non solum auxilium funesto ab rege petisse 

Sed gessisse prius bellum civile pudebit. 

Nam quod apud populos crimen socerique tuumque 420 

Maius erit, quam quod vobis miscentibus arma 

1 Because too monstrous to be included : thus Solon framed 
no law against parricide. 
' Carrhae. 



fear in the power of that infamous king. Are we 
ignorant of that barbarous lust, which in the blind 
fashion of beasts defiles the binding sanctities of 
marriage with a myriad wives, and in which the 
secrets of the infamous bridal-chamber are dis- 
played in the presence of a thousand women ? The 
king, maddened with feasting and wine, ventures 
on unions that no laws have ever specified ; ^ a 
single male is not exhausted by a whole night spent 
in the arms of so many concubines. Their own 
sisters lie on the couches of the kings, and, for all 
the sanctity of the relation, their own mothers. 
Thebes, the city of Oedipus, is condemned in the 
eyes of mankind by the gloomy legend of the crime 
which he committed unwittingly : how often an 
Arsaces is born from such a union to rule the 
Parthians I What can I consider unpermitted to 
one who permits himself to beget children by his 
mother ? The noble daughter of Metellus will wait 
by the bed of the barbarian, one among a thousand 
wives. And yet, Magnus, tlie king's lust will be 
devoted to her more than to any other, for it will 
be heated by cruelty and by the fame of her 
husbands. For, to heighten the horrid pleasure 
of the Parthian, he will know that she was once the 
wife of Crassus also : as if long due to the doom 
of Carrhae, she will be carried off as a captive taken 
in the defeat of long ago. If the pitiful disaster ^ 
which we suffered in the East rankles in your heart, 
you will blush, not only to beg help from the death- 
dealing king, but also to have made war on Romans 
before Parthians. What greater reproach will the 
world bring against you and Caesar than this — that, 
when you twa meet in conflict, vengeance for the 



Crassorum vindicta perit ? Incurrere ciincti 

Debuerant in Bactra duces et, ne qua vacarent 

Arma, vel Arctoum Dacis Rhenique catervis 

Imperii nudare latus, dum perfida Susa 42? 

In tumulos prolapsa ducum Babylonque iaceret. 

Assyriae paci finem, Fortuna, precamur ; 

Et, si Thessalia bellum civile peractum est. 

Ad Parthos, qui vicit, eat. Gens unica mundi est, 

De qua Caesareis possim gaudere triumphis. 430 

Non tibi, cum primum gelidum transibis Araxen, 

Umbra senis maesti Scythicis confixa sagittis 

Ingeret has voces ? ' Tu, quern post funera nostra 

Ultorera cinerum nudae speravimus umbrae, 

Ad foedus pacemque venis ? ' Tum plurima cladis 436 

Occurrent monimenta tibi : quae moenia trunci 

Lustrarunt cervice duces, ubi nomina tanta 

Obruit Euphrates et nostra cadavera Tigris 

Detulit in terras ac reddidit. Ire per ista 

Si potes, in media socerum quoque, Magne, sedentem 440 

Thessalia placare potes. Quin respicis orbem 

Romanum ? si regna times proiecta sub Austro 

Infidumque lubani, petimus Pharon arvaque Lagi. 

Syrtibus hinc Libycis tuta est Aegyptos ; at inde 

Gurgite septeno rapidus mare summovet amnis. 445 

Terra suis contenta bonis, non indiga mercis 

Aut lovis ; in solo tanta est fiducia Nilo. 

'^ Crassus. 

* An ill-timed allusion to the fact mentioned in iii. 261 ff. 
' Pharos is the lighthouse island off Alexandria : in the Latin 
poets Phaiian = Egyptian. For Lagus, see n. to v. 00. 



Crassi has been forgotten? All our leaders should 
have made haste to Bactra ; and, that every 
sword might be engaged, they should have left 
the northern frontier of the empire exposed to 
the Dacians and the hordes of the Rhine, until 
treacherous Susa and Babylon were laid in ruins 
over the tombs of their monarchs. We pray to 
Fortune that peace with Assyria may end ; and if 
the civil war was settled by Pharsalia, let it be the 
conqueror who goes to Parthia. They are the one 
nation on earth whom I could rejoice to see Caesar 
triumph over. As soon as you cross the cold Araxes, 
will not the ghost of that sorrowing old man,^ 
riddled with Scythian arrows, hurl this reproach 
upon you ? ' We unburied ghosts hoped that you 
would come after our death to avenge our ashes : 
do you come to make a treaty and a peace ? ' Next, 
memorials of the defeat will crowd upon your sight 
— the walls, round which the headless bodies of 
our generals were dragged ; the place where the 
Euphrates closed over such famous men, and the 
Tigris carried the Roman dead underground and 
then restored them to sight again.^ If you can 
pass through these scenes, Magnus, you can also 
sue to Caesar enthroned on the field of Pharsalia. 
Why not turn your eyes to the Roman world .'' If 
you fear faithless Juba and his realm that stretches 
far to the South, then Pharos and the land of 
Lagus^ is our goal. On the West Egypt is pro- 
tected by the Libyan Syrtes ; and on the North 
the rapid river with its seven channels drives back 
the sea ; rich in its native wealth, the land has no 
need of foreign wares or of Heaven's rain, so great 
is her reliance upon the Nile alone. The sceptre 



Sceptra puer Ptolemaeus habet tibi debita, Magne. 
Tutelae commissa tuae. Quis nominis umbram 
Horreat ? innocua est aetas. Ne iura fidemque 450 

Respectumque deum veteri speraveris aula : 
Nil pudet adsuetos sceptris ; mitissima sors est 
Regnorum sub rege novo." Non plura locutus 
Inpulit hue animos. Quantum^ spes ultima rerum, 
Lil^ertatis babes ! Victa est sententia Magni. 455 

Turn Cilicum liquere solum Cyproque citatas 
Inmisere rates, nullas cui praetulit aras 
Undae diva memor Paphiae — si numina nasci 
Credimus aut quemquam fas est coepisse deorum. 
Haec ubi deseruit Pompeius litora, totos 460 

p],mensus Cypri seopulos, quibus exit in Austrum, 
Inde maris vasti transverse vertitur aestu ; 
Nee tenuit gratum nocturne lumine montem, 
Infimaque Aegypti pugnaci litora velo 
Vix tetigit, qua dividui pars maxima Nili 466 

In vada decurrit Pelusia septimus amnis. 
Tempus erat, quo Libra pares examinat horas, 
Non uno plus aequa die, noctique rependit 
Lux minor hibernae verni solacia damni. 
Conperit ut regem Casio se monte tenere, 470 

Flectit iter ; nee Phoebus adhuc nee carbasa languent. 

lam rapido speculator eques per litora cursu 
Hospitis adventu pavidam conpleverat aulam. 

1 Aphrodite (Venus), when born from the sea foam, came to 
* Pharos. 
' Most easterly. The time was the autumnal equinox. 



which the boy Ptolemy holds^ he owes to you, 
Magnus ; it was entrusted to your guardianship. 
Who would dread a mere empty name? His is 
the age of innocence ; look not for friendship or 
loyalty or fear of God in a court where the king 
has long reigned ; use robs kings of all shame ; the 
subjects' yoke is lightest where their king is new." 
Lentulus said no more, but he turned all minds to 
his view. How free are desperate men to speak 
their minds ! The policy of Magnus was outvoted. 

Then they left Cilician soil and steered their 
vessels in haste for Cyprus — Cyprus which the 
goddess/ mindful of the Paphian waves, prefers to 
any of her shrines (if we believe that deities have 
birth, or if it is lawful to hold that any of the gods 
had a beginning). When Pompey had left that 
shore, having sailed past the long line of cliffs with 
which Cyprus projects to the South, from there he 
sailed a fresh course along the cross-current of the 
open sea. Unable to make the tower ^ whose light 
the seaman blesses in darkness, with difficulty he 
reached the furthest ^ shore of Egypt with battling 
sail, where the largest branch of the divided Nile, 
one of seven rivers, runs out to the shoals of Pelu- 
sium. It was the season when Libra balances the 
hours of day and night in equal scales, and stays 
level for one day only ; for the shortening day 
makes compensation to the winter nights for their 
loss in spring. When he learnt that the king was 
encamped on. Mount Casius, Pompey bent his course 
thither ; the sun was not yet setting, nor the sails 

By now a mounted watchman, galloping along 
the shore, had filled with the news of his arrival 



Consilii vix tempus erat ; tamen omnia monstra 

Pellaeae coiere domus, quos inter Acoreus 475 

lam placidus senio fractisque modestior annis 

— Hunc genuit custos Nili crescentis in arva 

Memphis vana sacris ; illo cultore deorum 

Lustra suae Phoebes non unus vixerat Apis — 

Consilii vox prima fuit, meritumque fidemque 480 

Sacraque defuncti iactavit pignora patris. 

Sed melior suadere malis et nosse tyrannos 

Ausus Pompeium leto daranare Pothinus 

'' lus et fas multos faciunt, Ptolemaee, nocentes ; 

Dat poenas laudata fides, cum sustinet/' inquit 485 

" Quos fortuna premit. Fatis accede deisque, 

Et cole felices, miseros fuge. Sidera terra 

Ut distant et flamma mari, sic utile recto. 

Sceptrorum vis tota perit, si pendere iusta 

Incipit, evertitque arces respectus honesti. 490 

Libertas scelerum est, quae regna invisa tuetur, 

Sublatusque modus gladiis. Facere omnia saeve 

Non inpune licet, nisi cum facis. Exeat aula. 

Qui volt esse pius. Virtus et summa potestas 

Non coeunt ; semper metuet, quem saeva pudebunt. 495 

Non inpune tuos Magnus contempserit annos. 

Qui te nee victos arcere a litore nostro 

Posse putat. Neu nos sceptris privaverit hospes, 

^ There was a Nilometer at Memphis. 

* The meaning is, more than one period of 25 years : the 
sacred bull called Apis was not allowed to live longer than this 

3 Many who keep these laws suffer for doing so. 



the frightened court. There was scarce time to 
deliberate ; yet all the portentous figures of the 
Macedonian palace assembled. Among them was Aco- 
reus, made mild by age and taught moderation by 
decrepitude. Idolatrous Memphis gave him birth — 
Memphis ^ which measures the Nile when it rises to 
flood the fields ; and during his priesthood more 
than one Apis ^ had lived through the term assigned 
him by the Moon, his mistress. He spoke first at 
the council, dwelling on benefits received and 
loyalty and the sacred promises of the dead 
monarch's will. But there was one, more fit to 
counsel wicked kings and know their heart, and a 
Pothinus dared to sign the death-warrant of a 
Pompey. He said : " Ptolemy, the laws of God 
and man make many guilty ^ : we praise loyalty, 
but it pays the price when it supports those whom 
Fortune crushes. Take the side of destiny and 
Heaven, and court the prosperous but shun the 
afflicted. Expediency is as far from the right as the 
stars from earth or fire from water. The power of 
kings is utterly destroyed, once they begin to weigh 
considerations of justice ; and regard for virtue 
levels the strongholds of tyrants. It is boundless 
wickedness and unlimited slaughter that protect 
the unpopularity of a sovereign. If all your deeds 
are cruel, you will suffer for it the moment you 
cease from cruelty. If a man would be righteous, 
let him depart from a court. Virtue is incompatible 
with absolute power. He who is ashamed to commit 
cruelty must always fear it Let Magnus suffer for 
having despised your youth ; he thinks you cannot 
repel even a beaten man from our coast. And, 
that a stranger may not rob us of the throne, 



Pignora sunt propiora tibi : Nilumque Pharonque, 
Si regnare piget, damnatae redde sorori. 500 

Aegyptum certe Latiis tueamur ab armis. 
Quidquid non fuerit Magni, dura bella geruntur, 
Nee victoris erit. Toto iam pulsus ab orbe, 
Postquam nulla manet rerum fiducia, quaerit, 
Cum qua gente cadat. Rapitur civilibus umbris. 605 
Nee soceri tantum arma fugit : fugit ora senatus, 
Cuius Thessalicas saturat pars magna volucres, 
Et metuit gentes, quas uno in sanguine mixtas 
Deseruit, regesque timet, quorum omnia mersit, 
Thessaliaeque reus nulla tellure receptus 610 

Sollicitat nostrum, quem nondum perdidit, orbem. 
lustior in Magnum nobis, Ptolemaee, querellae 
Causa data est. Quid sepositam semperque quietam 
Crimine bellorum maculas Pharon arvaque nostra 
Victori suspeeta facis ? eur sola eadenti 515 

Haee placuit tell us, in quam Pharsalica fata 
Conferres poenasque tuas ? iam crimen habemus 
Purgandum gladio. Quod nobis seeptra senatus 
Te suadente dedit, votis tua fovimus arma. 
Hoc ferrum, quod fata iubent proferre, paravi 620 

Non tibi, sed victo ; feriam tua viscera, Magne, 
Malueram soceri : rapimur, quo cuncta feruntur. 
Tene mihi dubitas an sit violare necesse. 

* Cleopatra, banished by Ptolemy. 
^ To kill Pompey. 



remember that you have others nearer of kin ; and, 
if your crown is uneasy, restore the Nile and Pharos 
to the sister ^ you have condemned. Let us in any 
case protect Egypt from the arms of Rome. What- 
ever did not belong to Pompey during the war will 
not belong to Caesar either. Driven from all the 
world, with no reliance left upon his fortunes, he 
seeks a people to share his fall. He is dragged 
down by the ghosts of those who fell in civil war. 
It is not merely Caesar's sword that he flies from : 
he flies also from the face of the senators, of whom so 
many are now glutting the vultures of Thessaly ; he 
fears the foreign nations, whom he forsook and left 
weltering in blood together; he dreads the kings, 
whose all he destroyed ; guilty of Pharsalia and 
rejected by every country, he troubles our realm 
which he has not yet destroyed. But we, Ptolemy, 
can complain more justly of Pompey than he of us: 
why does he stain secluded and peace-loving Pharos 
with the guilt of war and bring down Caesar's dis- 
pleasure on our land ? Why when falling did he 
choose this country of all others to bring to it the 
curse of Pharsalia and the punishment which he 
alone should pay? Even now we have incurred 
guilt, which we cannot purge away except by using 
the sword. 2 On his motion the Senate granted us 
the sovereignty of Egypt, and therefore we prayed 
for his victory. The sword, which destiny bids me 
bring forth, I did not intend for Pompey but for the 
loser, whichever he might be. I shall pierce your 
heart with it, Magnus ; I had rather have slain 
Caesar; but we are borne by the current that 
carries the whole world away. Do you doubt 
whether 1 must do you violence ? I must, because 1 



Cum liceat ? Quae te nostri fiducia regni 

Hue agit, infelix ? populum non cernis inermem 525 

Arvaque vix refugo fodientem mollia Nilo ? 

Metiri sua regna decet viresque fateri, 

Tu, Ptolemaee^ potes Magni fulcire ruinam. 

Sub qua Roma iacet ? bustum cineresque movere 

Thessalicos audes bellumque in regna vocare ? 630 

Ante aciem Emathiam nullis accessimus armis : 

Pompei nunc castra placent, quae deserit orbis ? 

Nunc victoris opes et cognita fata lacessis ? 

Adversis non desse decet, sed laeta secutos : 

Nulla fides umquam miseros elegit amicos." 635 

Adsensere omnes sceleri. Laetatur honore 
Rex puer insueto, quod iam sibi tanta iubere 
Permittant famuli. Sceleri delectus Achillas, 
Perfida qua tellus Casiis excurrit harenis 
Et vada testantur iunctas Aegyptia Syrtes, 640 

Exiguam sociis monstri gladiisque carinam 
Instruit. O superi, Nilusne et barbara Memphis 
Et Pelusiaci tam mollis turba Canopi 
Hos animos ? sic fata preraunt civilia mundum ? 
Sic Romana iacent? ullusne in cladibus istis 645 

Est locus Aegypto Phariusque admittitur ensis ? 
Hanc certe servate fidem, civilia bella : 
Cognatas praestate manus externaque monstra 
Pellite. Si meruit tam claro nomine Magnus 
Caesaris esse nefas, tanti, Ptolemaee, ruinam 550 

^ By a figure found elsewhere in Latin poetry, the battle 
itself is said to be buried. 



may. What reliance upon our kingdom brings 
him hither, ill-fated man ? Does he not see our 
unwarlike population, scarce able to till the fields 
softened by the falling Nile? We must take the 
measure of our kingdom and confess our weakness. 
Are you, Ptolemy, strong enough to prop the fall of 
Pom[)ey — that fall beneath which Rome is crushed ? 
Dare you disturb the pyre and ashes of Pharsalia,' 
and summon war to your own reahns ? Before the 
battle of Pharsalia we took neither side : do we now 
adopt Pompey's cause when all the world is forsaking 
it ? Do you now challenge the might and proved 
success of Caesar ? To support the loser in adversity 
is right, but right only for those who have shared in 
his prosperity ; no loyalty ever picked out the 
wretched as friends." 

All gave their voices for the crime. The boy- 
king was pleased by a deference seldom shown him, 
when his servants suffered him to give orders for 
such a tragedy. Achillas was chosen to execute the 
crime, and manned a small boat with armed accom- 
plices for the horrid deed, where the land of traitors 
juts out into the sands of Mount Casius, and the 
Egyptian shoals tell of the neighbouring Syrtes. Ye 
gods ! Do the Nile and barbarous Memphis, and 
the effeminate people of Egyptian Canopus, aspire 
so high as this ? Does the curse of the civil war 
weigh thus on all the world, and has Rome fallen so 
low ? What room is there for Egypt in our tragedy, 
and what part for the sword of Egypt ? Thus far at 
least civil war should keep faith : it should provide 
Roman hands to fall by and keep foreign fiends far 
away. If the mighty name of Magnus entitled him 
to be Caesar's guilt, do you, Ptolemy, not dread the 



Nominis haud metuis caeloque tonante profanas 

Inseruisse manus^ inpure ac semivir^ audes ? 

Non domitor mundi nee ter Capitol ia eurru 

Inveetus regumque potens vindexque senatus 

Victorisque gener, Phario satis esse tyranno 555 

Quod poterat, Romanus erat : quid viscera nostra 

Scrutaris gladio ? Nescis, puer inprobe^ nescis, 

Quo tua sit fortuna loco : iam iure sine ullo 

Nili sceptra tenes ; cecidit civilibus armis 

Qui tibi regna dedit. Iam vento vela negarat 560 

Magnus et auxilio remorum infanda petebat 

Litora ; quem contra non longa vecta biremi 

Appulerat scelerata manus^ Magnoque patere 

Fingens regna Phari celsae de puppe carinae 

In parvam iubet ire ratem, litusque malignum 565 

Incusat bimaremque vadis frangentibus aestum, 

Qui vetet externas terris adpellere classes. 

Quod nisi fatorum leges intentaque iussu 

Ordinis aeterni miserae vicinia mortis 

Damnatum leto traherent ad litora Magnum, 670 

Non ulli comitum sceleris praesagia derant : 

Quippe, fides si pura foret, si regia Magno, 

Sceptrorum auctori, vera pietate pateret, 

Venturum tota Pharium cum classe tyrannum. 

Sed cedit fatis classemque relinquere iussus 676 

Obsequitur, letumque iuvat praeferre timori. 

Ibat in hostilem praeceps Cornelia puppem, 

^ There is an ellipse here: the meaning is "But for pre- 
ordained destiny, [Pompey might have escaped ; for] all his 
companions ..." 


crash of that great name ? do you, foul mockery of a 
man, dare to thrust in your sacrilegious hands when 
heaven is thundering ? If Pompey were not a world- 
conqueror, not one who had thrice driven in 
triumph to the Capitol ; if he were not the ruler of 
kings, the champion of the Senate, and the son-in- 
law of Caesar, — he would be at least a Roman, and 
that might have been enough for a king of Egypt ; 
why do you probe a Roman heart with your sword, 
presumptuous boy ? You do not realise your own 
position : already you wear the crown of Egypt with 
no right to it, because he who gave it to you has 
been overthrown by civil warfare. — Now Magnus 
had robbed the wind of his sails and was using oars 
to bring him to the accursed coast, when the murder- 
ous band came alongside to meet him in a little two- 
oared boat. Pretending that he was welcome to the 
kingdom of Egypt, they invited him to step into 
their little craft from the stern of his tall vessel, 
blaming the scanty anchorage, and the surf of two 
seas that broke upon the shallows and hindered 
foreign ships from access to the land. But for the 
law of destiny, and but for the approach of a tragic 
end inflicted by decree of the eternal order, which 
were drawing Magnus to the shore under sentence 
of death — every one of his companions ^ felt a pre- 
sentiment of the murder ; for, if there were genuine 
loyalty, if the palace were thrown open with true 
devotion to Magnus who conferred the royal power 
upon it, then the Egyptian monarch would have 
come with all his fleet. But Pompey yielded to 
destiny and obeyed when asked to leave his 
ships, and chose to die rather than betray fear. 
Cornelia hastened to enter the hostile craft, the less 



Hoc magis inpatiens egresso desse marito, 

Quod metuit clades. " Remane^ temeraria coniunx, 

Et tu, nate, precor, longeque a litore casus 680 

Expectate meos et in hac cervice tyranni 

Explorate fidem " dixit. Sed surda vetanti 

Tendebat geminas amens Cornelia palmas : 

" Quo sine me crudelis abis ? iterumne relinquor 

Thessalicis summota malis ? numquam omine laeto 685 

Distrahimur miseri. Poteras non flectere p' >pem, 

Cum fugeres alto, latebrisque relinquere Lesbi, 

Omnibus a terris si nos arcere parabas. 

An tantum in fluctus placeo comes?" Haec ubi frustra 

EfFudit, prima pendet tamen anxia puppe, 690 

Attonitoque metu nee quoquam avertere visus 

Nee Magnum spectare potest. Stetit anxia classis 

Ad ducis eventum, metuens non arma nefasque 

Sed ne summissis precibus Pompeius adoret 

Sceptra sua donata manu. Transire parantem 596 

Roman us Pharia miles de puppe salutat 

Septimius, qui, pro superum pudor, anr.a satelles 

Regia gestabat posito deform i a pilo, 

Inmanis, violentus, atrox nullaque ferarum 

Mitior in caedes. Quis non, Fortuna, putasset 600 

Parcere te populis, quod bello, haec dextra vacaret, 

Thessaliaque procul tam noxia tela fugasses ? 

Disponis gladios, ne quo non fiat in orbe, 

Heu, facinus civile tibi. Victoribus ipsis 



willing to be left behind by her husband when he 
disembarked because she feared disaster. But he 
said : " Stay behind^ rash wife, and you, my son, I 
pray ; watch from afar what befalls me on shore, and 
use my head to test the loyalty of the king." But 
Cornelia, deaf to his refusal, wifdly stretched out 
both her hands : " Whither are you departing and 
cruelly leaving me behind ? am I deserted a second 
time, I who was kept away from the horrors of 
Pharsalia ? Ill-omened ever are our partings. You 
might, when you fled across the sea, have sailed 
straight on and left me in my hiding-place at Lesbos, 
if you intended to exclude me from every shore. Is 
my company displeasing to you except at sea .'* " 
When she had poured forth this remonstrance in 
vain, yet in her agony she hung over the end of the 
ship, and panic fear prevented her either from 
turning her eyes away or from looking steadily at 
Magnus. The ships lay there at anchor, uneasy for 
the fortunes of their leader ; they feared not 
murderous weapons, but that Pompey might bow 
witli humble petitions before the sceptre his own 
hand had bestowed. As he prepared to step across, 
a Roman soldier hailed him from the Egyptian boat. 
This was Septimius, who — shame on the gods ! — had 
laid down the pilum and carried the unworthy 
weapons of the king whose minion he was : a savage, 
wild, and cruel man, and bloodthirsty as any wild 
beast. Who would not have thought that Fortune 
showed mercy to mankind when she banished a 
sword so guilty far from Pharsalia, and when his hand 
took no part in the battle ? No : she scatters her 
assassins, that murder of Roman by Roman may be 
wrought in every part of earth to please her. 



Dedecus et numquam superum caritura pudore 605 

Fabula : Romanus regi sic paruit ensis, 
Pellaeusque puer gladio tibi colla recidit, 
Magne, tuo. Qua posteritas in saecula mittet 
Septimium fama ? scelus hoc quo nomine dicent. 
Qui Bruti dixere nefas ? lam venerat horae 610 

Terminus extremae, Phariamque ablatus in alnum 
Perdiderat iam iura sui. Turn stringere ferrum 
Regia monstra parant. Ut vidit comminus enses, 
Involvit voltus atque, indignatus apertum 
Fortunae praebere^ caput ; turn lumina pressit 615 

Continuitque animam^ ne quas efFundere voces 
Vellet et aeternam fletu corrumpere famam. 
Sed postquam mucrone latus funestus Achillas 
Perfodit, nullo gemitu consensit ad ictum 
Respexitque nefas, servatque inmobile corpus, 620 

Seque probat moriens atque haec in pectore volvit : 
** Saecula Romanes numquam tacitura labores 
Attendunt, aevumque sequens speculatur ab omni 
Orbe ratem Phariamque fidem : nunc consule famae. 
Fata tibi longae fluxerunt prospera vitae ; 626 

Ignorant populi, si non in morte probaris, 
An scieris adversa pati. Ne cede pudori 
Auctoremque dole fati : quacumque feriris, 
Crede manum soceri. Spargant lacerentque licebit, 
Sum tamen, o superi, felix, nullique potestas 630 

Hoc auferre deo. Mutantur prospera vita : 
Non fit morte miser. Videt banc Cornelia caedem 

* Septimius had once seived under Pompey. ■ Ptolemy. 


Disgrace to Caesar himself, a tale that will always 
bring reproach on Heaven — a Roman sword obeyed 
such a behest of the king, and the head of Magnus 
was cut off with his own sword ^ by the Macedonian 
boy.2 With what infamy will posterity hand the 
name of Septimius down to future ages ? What 
name will those who called the deed of Brutus a sin 
apply to this crime ? — Now the limit of his last hour 
had come ; he was borne off in the Egyptian boat 
and had already lost the power of free action. Next, 
the king's assassins begin to bare the steel. When 
Pompey saw the blades come close, he covered his 
face and head, disdaining to expose them bare to the 
stroke of doom ; then he closed tight his eyes and 
held his breath, that he might have no power of 
utterance and might not mar his immortal glory by 
tears. But when murderous Achillas had driven the 
point through his side, he did not acknowledge the 
blow by any cry or take heed of the horror, but 
remained motionless, and tested his strength in the 
hour of death ; and these thoughts passed through 
his mind : " Future ages, that will never forget the 
tragedy of Rome, are watching now, and from every 
quarter of the world time coming gazes at this boat 
and the treachery of Egypt ; think now of fame. 
Through a long life the tide of your success never 
slackened ; men do not know, unless you prove it by 
your death, whether you were able to endure 
adver sity. Sink not beneath the shame, nor resent 
the instrument of doom : whatever the hand that 
slays you, believe it to be the hand of your kinsman. 
Though men scatter and mutilate my limbs, never- 
theless, ye gods, I am a fortunate man, and of this no 
god can deprive me. For life brings change to 



Pompeiusque meus : tanto patientius, oro, 
Clude, dolor, gemitus ; natus coniunxque peremptum, 
Si mirantur, amant." Talis custodia Magno 635 

Mentis erat^ ius hoc animi morientis habebat. 

At non tarn patiens Cornelia cernere saevum, 
Quam perferre, nefas miserandis aethera conplet 
Vocibus : " O coniunx, ego te scelerata peremi : 
Letiferae tibi causa morae fuit avia Lesbos, 640 

Et prior in Nili pervenit litora Caesar ; 
Nam cui ius alii sceleris? Sed, quisquis in istud 
A superis inmisse caput vel Caesaris irae 
Vel tibi prospiciens, nescis, crudelis, ubi ipsa 
Viscera sint Magni ; properas atque ingeris ictus, 645 
Qua votum est victo. Poenas non morte minores 
Pendat et ante meura videat caput. Haud ego culpa 
Libera bellorum, quae matrum sola per undas 
Et per castra comes nullis absterrita fatis 
Victum, quod reges etiam timuere, recepi. 660 

Hoc merui, coniunx, in tuta puppe relinqui ? 
Perfide, parcebas ? te fata extrema petente 
Vita digna fui ? moriar, nee munere regis. 
Aut mihi praecipitem, nautae, permittite saltum, 
Aut laqueum collo tortosque aptare rudentes, 666 

Aut aliquis Magno dignus comes exigat ensem ; 
Pompeio praestare potest, quod Caesaris armis 
Inputet. O saevi, properantem in fata tenetis ? 


prosperity, but death can make no man wretched. 
Cornelia and my son see this murder done ; therefore 
I call on my resentment to stifle its complaints all 
the more steadfastly ; my wife and son love me dead 
the more, if my death win their admiration." Such 
control had Magnus over his thoughts, such mastery 
over his mind, when he was dying. 

But Cornelia, less patient to behold that cruel 
outrage than to endure it herself, filled the air with 
pitiful cries : " Dear husband, I am guilty of your 
death : your fatal delay was caused by the remote- 
ness of Lesbos, and Caesar has reached the shore of 
Egypt before you ; none else could have power to 
command this crime. But whoever you are who 
have been sent by Heaven against that life, whether 
serving the anger of Caesar or your own, you know 
not, ruthless man, where the very heart of Magnus 
lies ; in haste you shower your blows where he, in 
his defeat, welcomes them. Let him pay a penalty 
not less than death by seeing my head fall first. I 
am not blameless in respect of the war ; for I was the 
only matron who followed him on sea and in camp ; 
I was deterred by no disasters, but harboured him in 
defeat, which even kings were afraid to do. And 
is this my reward from my husband, to be left behind 
in the safety of the ship? Would you spare me, 
faithless husband.^ Did I deserve to live when you 
went to your death } I shall die, nor owe it to King 
Ptolemy. Suffer me, ye sailors, either to leap head- 
long, or to fit a noose of twisted rope round my 
neck ; or let some friend of Pompey prove worthy 
of Pompey by driving home his sword in my body 
He may do it for Pompey's sake and yet claim it as 
a service to Caesar's cause. Cruel men, do you check 



Vivis adhuCj coniunx^ et iam Cornelia non est 
luris, Magne, sui : proliibent accersere mortem ; 
Servor victori." Sic fata interque suorum 
Lapsa manus rapitur trepida fugiente carina. 

At Magni cum terga sonent et pectora ferro, 
Permansisse decus sacrae venerabile formae 
Iratamque deis faciem^ nil ultima mortis 
Ex habitu voltuque viri mutasse fatentur^ 
Qui lacerum videre caput. Nam saevus in ipso 
Septimius sceleris mains scelus invenit actu, 
Ac retegit sacros scisso velamine voltus 
Semianimis Magni spirantiaque ora 
Collaque in obliquo ponit languentia transtro. 
Tunc nervos venasque secat nodosaque frangit 
Ossa diu ; nondum artis erat caput ense rotare. 
At postquam trunco cervix abscisa recessit, 
Vindicat hoc Pharius, dextra gestare, satelles. 
Degener atque operae miles Romane secundae, 
Pompei diro sacrum caput ense recidis, 
Ut non ipse feras ? o summi fata pudoris ! 
Inpius ut Magnum nosset puer, ilia verenda 
Regibus hirta coma et generosa fronte decora 
Caesaries conprensa manu est, Pharioque veruto, 
Dum vivunt voltus atque os in murmura pulsant 
Singultus animae, dum lumina nuda rigescunt, 
Suffixum caput est, quo mimquam bella iubente 

^ Achillas. 


my haste to die? Though you, my husband, are still 
alive, Cornelia has already ceased to be free : they 
forbid me to summon death, and I am kept alive for 
Caesar." Thus she spoke, and was carried away, 
swooning, in friendly arms, while the ship made 
haste to fly. 

But those who saw the severed head of Magnus 
admit that, when the steel clashed on his back and 
breast, the majestic beauty of those sacred features, 
and the face that frowned at Heaven, suffered no 
change ; and that the utmost death could do made 
no alteration in the bearing and countenance of the 
hero. The head was severed ; for savage Septimius, 
in the very doing of his crime, devised a crime still 
worse. He slit the covering and unveiled the 
sacred features of the dying man ; he seized the 
still breathing head and laid the drooping neck 
across a thwart. Next, he severed the muscles and 
veins and hacked long at the knotted bones ; it was 
not yet a knack to send a head spinning with a 
sword-cut. But when the neck was severed and 
parted from the body, the Egyptian minion ^ claims 
this privilege — to carry it in his right hand. A 
Roman soldier sinks so low as to take a second 
part : he cuts off the sacred head of Pompey with 
his cursed sword in order that another may carry 
it ! What a depth of ignominy was his ! That the 
sacrilegious boy might recognise Magnus, those manly 
locks that kings revered and the hair that graced 
his noble brow were gripped by the hand ; and, 
while the features still showed life and the sobbing 
breath drove sound through the lips, and the stark eyes 
stiffened, the head was stuck on an Egyptian pike — 
that head, whose call to war ever banished peace ; 



Pax fuit ; hoc leges Campumque et rostra movebat, 686 

Hac facie, Fortuna, tibi, Roiiiana^ placebas. 

Nee satis infando fuit hoc vidisse ty'ranno : 

Volt sceleris superesse fidem. Tunc arte nefanda 

Summota est capiti tabes, raptoque cerebro 

Adsiccata cutis, putrisqiie effluxit ab alto 690 

Umor, et infuso facies solidata veneno est. 

Ultima Lageae stirpis perituraque proles, 
Degener, incestae sceptris cessure sorori. 
Cum tibi sacrato Macedon servetur in antro 
Et regum cineres extructo monte quiescant, 695 

Cum Ptolemaeorum manes seriemque pudendam 
Pyramides claudant indignaque Mausolea, 
Litora Pompeium feriunt, truncusque vadosis 
Hue illuc iactatur aquis. Adeone molesta 
Totum cura fuit socero servare cadaver ? 700 

Hac Fortuna fide Magni tam prosi)era fata 
Pertulit, hac ilium summo de culmine rerum 
Morte petit cladesque omnes exegit in uno 
Saeva die, quibus inmunes tot praestitit annos, 
Pompeiusque fuit, qui numquam mixta videret 705 

Laeta malis, felix nullo turbante deorum 
Et nullo parcente miser ; semel inpulit ilium 
Dilata Fortuna manu. Pulsatur harenis, 
Carpitur in scopulis hausto per volnera fluctu, 
Ludibrium pelagi, nullaque manente figura 710 

* The elections, which were hold in the Campu-i MarLius. 
^ Alexander the Great. 



the head, which swayed the Senate, the Campus,* 
and the Rostrum ; that was the face which the 
Fortune of Home was proud to wear. The sight 
of it was not enough for the infamous king : he 
wislied proof of his guilt to remain. Thereupon, 
by their hideous art the blood was drained from the 
head, the brain torn out, and the skin dried ; the 
corrupting moisture was drawn out from the inmost 
parts, and the features were liardened by the infusion 
of drugs. 

Last scion of the line of Lagus, doomed and de- 
generate king; who must surrender your crown to 
your incestuous sister, though you preserve the 
Macedonian ^ in consecrated vault and the ashes 
of the Pharaohs rest beneath a mountain of masonry, 
though the dead Ptolemies and their unworthy 
dynasty are covered by pyramids and mausoleums 
too good for them, Pompey is battered on the shore, 
and his headless body is tossed hither and thither 
in the shallows. Was it so troublesome a task to 
keep the whole body for his kinsman to see.'* So 
true to her bargain, did Fortune continue to the 
end the prosperity of Magnus; so true to her 
bargain, she summoned him at his death from his 
pinnacle of glory, and ruthlessly made him pay in 
a single day for all the disasters from which she 
protected hnn for many years ; and Pompey was the 
only man who never experienced good and evil 
together : his prosperity no god disturbed, and on 
his misery no god had mercy. Fortune held her 
hand for long and then overthrew him with one 
blow. He is tossed on the sands and mangled on 
the rocks, while his wounds drink in the wave ; he 
is the plaything of Ocean, and, when all shape is 



Una nota est Magno capitis iactura revolsi. 

Ante tamen Pharias victor quam taiigat harenas, 
Pompeio raptim tumulum fortuna paravit, 
Ne iaceat nullo vel ne meliore sepulchre : 
E latebris pavidus decurrit ad aequora Cordus. 
Quaestor ab Icario Cinyreae litore Cypri 
Infaustus Magni fuerat comes. Ille per umbras 
Ausus ferre gradum victum pietate timorem 
Conpulit, ut mediis quaesitum corpus in undis 
Duceret ad terram traheretque in litora Magnum. 
Lucis maesta parum per densas Cynthia nubes 
Praebebat ; cano sed discolor aequore truncus 
Conspicitur. Tenet ille ducem conplexibus artis 
Eripiente mari ; tunc victus pondere tanto 
Expectat fluctus pelagoque iuvante cadaver 
Inpellit. Postquam sicco iam litore sedit, 
Incubuit Magno lacrimasque effudit in omne 
Volnus, et ad superos obscuraque sidera fatur : 
** Non pretiosa petit cumulate ture sepulchra 
Pompeius, Fortuna, tuus, non pinguis ad astra 
Ut ferat e membris Eoos fumus odores, 
Ut Romana suum gestent pia col la parentem, 
Praeferat ut veteres feralis pompa triumphos, 
Ut resonent tristi cantu fora, totus ut ignes 
Proiectis maerens exercitus ambiat armis. 
Da vilem Magno plebei funeris arcam, 
Quae lacerum corpus siccos effundat in ignes ; 

^ The meaning of this epithet is unknown. 
' I.e. not fed with spices. 



lost, the one mark to identify Magnus is the absence 
of the severed head. 

But before Caesar could reach the sands of 
Egypt, Fortune devised a hasty burial for Pompey, 
that he might not lack a tomb, or that he might 
not have a better. In fear and haste Cordus came 
down from his hiding-place to the sea ; as quaestor 
he had made the ill-starred voyage with Magnus 
from the Icarian^ shore of Cyprus, where Cinyras 
once reigned. Under cover of darkness he dared to 
come, and forced his fear, mastered by duty, to seek 
the body amid the waves, and draw it to land and 
drag Magnus to the shore. A sad moon shed but 
scanty light through thick clouds ; but the headless 
body was visible by its different colour in the foam- 
ing waves. He grasped his leader tight against the 
snatching of the sea ; then, unequal to that mighty 
burden, he waited for a wave and then pushed on 
the body with the sea to help him. When it came 
to rest above the water-line, he cast himself upon 
Magnus, pouring tears into every wound ; and thus 
he addressed Heaven and the dim stars : " No costly 
pyre with heaped -up incense does your favourite, 
Pompey, ask of you. Fortune ; he does not ask that 
the rich smoke should carry to the stars Eastern 
perfumes from his limbs; that devoted Romans 
should bear on their shoulders the dear father of 
his country ; that the funeral procession should 
display his former trophies ; that the Forum should 
be filled with mournful music ; or that a whole army, 
with dropped arms, should march mourning round 
the burning pile. But grant to Magnus the paltry 
bier of a pauper's burial, to let down the mutilated 
body on the unfed ^ fires ; let not the hapless corpse 



Robora non desint misero nee sordidus ustor. 

Sit satis, o superi, quod non Cornelia fuse 

Crine iacet subicique facem conplexa maritura 740 

Imperat, extremo sed abest a munere busti 

Infelix coniunx nee adhuc a litore longe est." 

Sic fatus parvos iuvenis procul aspicit ignes 

Corpus vile suis nullo custode cremantes. 

Inde rapit flammas semustaque robora raembris 745 

Subducit. " Quaecumque es," ait '^ neglecta nee ulli 

Cara tuo sed Pompeio felicior umbra, 

Quod iam conpositum violat manus hospita bustum, 

Da veniam ; si quid sensus post fata relictum, 

Cedis et ipsa rogo paterisque haec damna sepulchri, 750 

Teque pudet sparsis Pompei manibus uri." 

Sic fatus plenusque sinus ardente favilla 

Pervolat ad truncura, qui fluctu paene relatus 

Litore pendebat. Sumraas dimovit harenas 

Et collecta procul lacerae fragmenta carinae 755 

Exigua trepidus posuit scrobe. Nobile corpus 

Robora nulla premunt, nulla strue membra recurabunt : 

Admotus Magnum, non subditus, accipit ignis. 

llle sedens iuxta flammas " O maxime " dixit 

" Ductor et Hesperii maiestas nominis una, 760 

Si tibi iactatu pelagi, si funere nullo 

Tristior iste rogus, manes animamque potentera 

Officiis averte meis : iniuria fati 

Hoc fas esse iubet ; ne ponti belua quidquam, 

Ne fera, ne volucres, ne saevi Caesaris ira 765 



lack wood or a mean hand to kindle it. Be content 
with this, ye gods, that Cornelia does not lie pros- 
trate with dishevelled hair — does not embrace her 
husband and bid the torch be applied ; that his un- 
happy wife, though still not far distant from the 
shore, is not here to pay her last tribute to the 
dead." When the youth had spoken thus, he saw 
at a distance a feeble fire that was burning a corpse 
uncared for and unguarded. Thence he took fire in 
haste and drew the charred logs from beneath the 
body. " Whoever you are," he said, " uncared for 
and unloved by any of your kin, but yet more 
fortunate after death than Pompey, pardon the 
stranger hand that robs your pyre once laid. If 
aught of feeling survives death, you willingly resign 
your pyre and permit this robbery of your grave ; 
and you are ashamed, when the body of Pompey 
is divided, to find cremation yourself." I'hus he 
spoke, and having filled his lap with the burning 
embers he flew back to the body, which, as it hung 
upon the shore, had nearly been carried back by a 
wave. He scraped away the surface of the sand, 
and hastily laid in a narrow trench the pieces of a 
broken boat which he had gathered at a distance. 
No wood supports that famous corpse, on no pile 
are the limbs laid ; the fire that receives Magnus is 
not laid beneath him but beside him. Sitting near 
the fire, Cordus said : " Mighty captain and un- 
equalled glory of the Roman people, if this pyre 
is more distressful to you than to be tossed by the 
sea, or than no burial at all, then turn away your 
spirit and your mighty ghost from the service I 
render ; the wrong of Fate makes this right ; that 
no sea monster or beast or bird or wrath of cruel 



Audeat, exiguam, quantum potes, accipe flammam, 
Romana succense manu. Fortuna recursus 
Si det in Hesperiam, non hac in sede quiescent 
Tarn sacri cineres, sed te Cornelia, Magne, 
Accipiet nostraque manu transfundet in urnam. 770 

Interea parvo signemus litora saxo, 
Ut nota sit busti ; si quis placare peremptum 
Forte volet plenos et reddere mortis honores, 
Inveniat trunci cineres et norit harenas, 
Ad quas, Magne, tuum referat caput." Haec ubi fatus, 
Excitat invalidas admoto fomite flammas. 776 

Carpitur et lentum Magnus destillat in ignem 
Tabe fovens bustum. Sed iam percusserat astra 
Aurorae praemissa dies : ille ordine rupto 
Funeris attonitus latebras in litore quaerit. 780 

Quam metuis, demens, isto pro crimine poenam. 
Quo te fama loquax omnes accepit in annos ? 
Condita laudabit Magni socer inpius ossa : 
I modo securus veniae fassusque sepulchrum 
Posce caput. Cogit pietas inponere finem 786 

Officio. Semusta rapit resolutaque nondum 
Ossa satis nervis et inustis plena meduUis 
Aequorea restinguit aqua congestaque in unum 
Parva clusit humo. Tunc, ne levis aura retectos 
Auferret cineres, saxo conpressit harenam, 790 

Nautaque ne bustum religato fune moveret, 
Inscfipsit sacrum semusto stipite nomen : 
"Hie situs est Magnus." Placet hoc, Fortuna, sepul- 

^ What is known in the l*>ast as " false dawn." 



Caesar may make bold, accept all that is possible 
for you — this scanty flame ; a Roman hand has 
kindled your corpse. If Fortune grant us a return 
to Italy, not here will these sacred ashes rest ; but 
Cornelia will recover you, Magnus, and will transfer 
them from my hand to an urn. Meanwhile, let me 
mark the place on the shore with a small stone to 
be a token of your grave ; if any man haply desires 
to make atonement to your spirit and give you your 
due of funeral honours, let him find the ashes of the 
body, and recognise the strand to which he must 
restore your head." Having spoken thus, he 
brightens the feeble flame with a fresh supply of 
fuel. Slowly the body of Magnus is consumed and 
melts into the fire, feeding the flame with the 
dissolving flesh. But by now the daylight^ which 
precedes the dawn had smitten the stars ; and he 
broke off the rites and sought in terror his hiding- 
place upon the shore. What punishment do you 
dread, poor fool, for your crime, because of which 
the voice of Fame has made you welcome for all 
time to come ? His unnatural kinsman will approve 
the burial of Pompey's bones. Nay go, secure of 
pardon, confess that you buried him, and demand 
the head. — Duty compels him to complete his service. 
He snatched the charred bones not yet entirely 
parted from the muscles, and quenched them, full 
of the scorched marrow, with sea water; then he 
piled them together and hid them beneath a handful 
of earth. Next, lest a light breeze should bare and 
scatter the ashes, he planted a stone in the sand ; 
and that no sailor might disturb the tomb by moor- 
ing his bark there, he used a charred stick to write 
the sacred name upon it : " Here Magnus lies." Is 
it the will of Fortune to call this the grave of 



Dicere Pompei^ quo condi maluit ilium 

Quam terra caruisse socer ? Temeraria dextra, 795 

Cur obicis Magno tumulum manesque vagantes 

Includis ? Situs est, qua terra extrema refuso 

Pendet in Oceano ; Romanum nomen et omne 

Imperium Magno tumuli est modus ; obrue saxa 

Crimine plena deum. Si tota est Herculis Oete 800 

Et iuga tota vacant Bromio Nyseia, quare 

Unus in Aegypto Magni lapis ? omnia Lagi 

Arva tenere potest, si nuUo caespite nomen 

Haeserit. Erremus populi cinerumque tuorum, 

Magne, metu nullas Nili calcemus harenas. 805 

Quod si tam sacro dignaris nomine saxum, 

Adde actus tantos monumentaque maxima rerum, 

Adde trucis Lepidi motus Alpinaque bella 

Armaque Sertori revocato consule victa 

Et currus, quos egit eques, commercia tuta 810 

Gentibus et pavidos Cilicas maris ; adde subactam 

Barbariem gentesque vagas et quidquid in Euro 

Regnorum Boreaque iacet. Die semper ab armis 

Civilem repetisse togam, ter curribus actis 

Contentum multos patriae donasse triumphos. 815 

Quis capit haec tumulus ? surgit miserabile bustum 

Non ullis plenum titulis, non ordine tanto 

Fastorum ; solitumque legi super alta deorum 

Culmina et extructos spoliis hostilibus arcus 

Haud procul est ima Pompei nomen harena 820 

^ As a worse outrage. 


Pompey— this grave which Caesar preferred^ for 
his son-in-law to no burial at all ? Rash hand, why 
do you thrust a tomb on Magnus, and imprison the 
spirit that roams free ? His burial-place extends as 
far as the most distant land that floats on the circling 
stream of Ocean ; the Roman name and all the 
Roman empire are the limit of Pompey's grave. 
Away with that stone, eloquent in reproach of 
Heaven ! If all Oeta belongs to Hercules, and the 
hills of Nysa own no lord but Bacchus alone, why is 
there but a single stone in Egypt for Magnus ? He 
can fill all the kingdom of Lagus, if his name were 
fixed upon no grave. Then mankind would be in 
doubt, and, from fear to tread on the ashes of 
Magnus, we should avoid altogether the sands of 
Nile. But, if you think the stone worthy of that 
sacred name, tlien add his great achievements and 
the records of his mighty deeds ; add the rising of 
fierce Lepidus and the Alpine war ; the victory over 
Sertorius, when the consul was recalled, and the 
triumph which he celebrated while yet a knight; 
. write of commerce made safe for all nations, and 
of the Cilicians scared from the sea. Tell how he 
subdued the barbarian world, and nomad peoples, 
and all the rulers of East and North. Say that ever 
after war he donned again the citizen's gown, and 
that, content with three triumphal pageants, he 
excused his country many triumphs. What tomb 
has room for all this? There rises a pitiful grave- 
stone, rich with no records or long roll of offices; 
and the name of Pompey, which men were wont to 
read upon lofty temples of the gods and upon arches 
reared with spoils of our foes, — that name is little 
raised above the lowly sand^ and set so low upon 


VOL. 1. R 


Depressum tumulo, quod non legat advena rectus. 
Quod nisi monstratum Romanus transeat hospes. 

Noxia civili tell us Aegyptia fato, 
Haud equidem inmerito Cumanae carmine vatis 
Cautum, ne Nili Pelusia tangeret ora 825 

Hesperius miles ripasque aestate tumentes. 
Quid tibi, saeva, precer pro tanto crimine, tellus ? 
Vertat aquas Nilus quo nascitur orbe retentus, 
Et steriles egeant hibernis imbribus agri, 
Totaque in Aethiopum putres solvaris harenas. 830 

Nos in templa tuam Romana recepimus Isim 
Semideosque canes et sistra iubentia luctus 
Et, quem tu plangens hominem testaris, Osirim : 
Tu nostros, Aegypte, tenes in pulvere manes. 
Tu quoque, cum saevo dederis iam templa tyranno, 835 
Nondum Pompei cineres, o Roma, petisti ; 
Exul adhuc iacet umbra ducis. Si saecula prima 
Victoris timuere minas, nunc excipe saltem 
Ossa tui Magni, si nondum subruta fluctu 
In visa tellure sedent. Quis busta timebit, 840 

Quis sacris dignam movisse verebitur umbram ? 
Imperet hoc nobis utinam scelus et velit uti 
Nostro Roma sinu : satis o nimiumque beatus, 
Si mihi contingat manes transferre revolsos 
Ausoniam, si tale ducis violare sepulchrum. 845 

Forsitan, aut sulco sterili cum poscere finem 
A superis aut Roma volet feralibus Austris 
Ignibus aut nimiis aut terrae tecta moventi, 
Consilio iussuque deum transibis in urbem, 

^ Caesar. 



the grave that a stranger must stoop to read it, 
and a visitor from Rome would pass it by if it were 
not pointed out. 

O land of Egypt, guilty of the destinies of civil 
war, with good reason did the Sibyl of Cumae warn 
us in her verse, that no Roman soldier should visit 
the mouths of the Nile in Eorypt, and those banks 
which the summer floods. What curse can I invoke 
upon that ruthless land in reward for so great a 
crime ? May Nile reverse his waters and be stayed 
in the region where he rises ; may the barren fields 
crave winter rains ; and may all the soil break up 
into the crumbling sands of Ethiopia. Though we 
have admitted to Roman temples your Isis and your 
dogs half divine, the rattle which bids the worship- 
per wail, and the Osiris whom you prove to be 
mortal by mourning for him, yet you, Egypt, keep 
our dead a prisoner in your dust. Rome too, though 
she has already given a temple to the cruel tyrant,^ 
has not yet claimed the ashes of Pompey, and his 
ghost still lies in exile. If the first generation 
dreaded Caesar's threats, now at least let her 
welcome the bones of her beloved Magnus, if they 
still remain in that hated land and are not yet 
washed away by the sea. Who will fear to trouble 
the tomb, and dread to remove the dead so worthy 
of worship? Oh, that Rome would bid me do this 
wrong, and deign to make use of my arms ! Happy, 
too happy, should I be, if it were mine to unearth 
the remains and convey them to Italy, and to 
violate a tomb so unworthy of them. Perhaps, 
when Rome shall pray from Heaven a cure for 
barren fields or pestilential winds or excessive heats 
or earthquake, then, at the advice and bidding of 



Magne, tuam, summusque feret tua busta sacerdos. 850 

Nam quis ad exustam Cancro torrente Syenen 

Ibit et imbrifera siccas sub Pliade Thebas 

Spectator Nili, quis rubri stagna profundi 

Aut Arabum portus mercis mutator Eoae, 

Magne, petet, quern non tumuli venerabile saxum 855 

Et cinis in summis forsan turbatus harenis 

Avertet manesque tuos placare iubebit 

Et Casio praeferre lovi ? Nil ista nocebunt 

Famae busta tuae : templis auroque sepultus 

Vilior umbra fores. Nunc est pro numine summo 860 

Hoc tumulo Fortuna iacens : augustius aris 

Victoris Libyco pulsatur in aequore saxum. 

Tarpeis qui saepe deis sua tura negarunt, 

Inclusum Tusco venerantur caespite fulmen. 

Proderit hoc olim, quod non mansura futuris 865 

Ardua marmoreo surrexit pondere moles. 

Pulveris exigui sparget non longa vetustas 

Congeriem, bustumque cadet, mortisque peribunt 

Argumenta tuae. Veniet felicior aetas. 

Qua sit nulla fides saxum monstrantibus illud ; 870 

Atque erit Aegyptus populis fortasse nepotum 

Tam mendax Magni tumulo quam Creta Tonantis. 

^ Of Mount Casion, near Pelusium. 

* Fortune is here identified with her favourite, Pompey. 

^ That is, the place struck by lightning : the Romans called 
such a place bidental or puteal, and treated it as cdmecrated 

* The Cretans pointed out a place in their island which was 
said to be the tomb of Zeus (Jupiter). 



the gods, you will pass, MagDus, to your loved city, 
and the chief Pontiff will bear your ashes. Even 
now, if any man travels to Syene, parched by 
flaming Cancer, and to Thebes, unwetted even 
under the rain-bearing Pleiads, in order to behold 
the Nile ; if any man seeks the quiet waters of the 
Red Sea or the ports of Arabia to traffic in Eastern 
wares — that gravestone, and those ashes, perhaps 
disturbed and lying on the surface of the sand, will 
call him aside to worship, and bid him appease the 
spirit of Magnus, and give it tlie preference over 
Casian ^ Jupiter. That grave will never mar his 
fame ; the dead would be less precious if buried in 
temples and gold. Fortune, lying in this tomb, is 
now at last a supreme deity ; ^ prouder than all 
Caesar's altars is the sea-beaten stone on the shore 
of Africa. Many, who deny to the deities of the 
Ca{)itol the incense which is their due, worship the 
thunderbolt^ fenced in by the augur's turf. One 
day it will prove a gain that no lofty pile of 
massive marble was raised here to last for ever. 
For a short space of time will scatter the little heap 
of dust ; the grave will fall in ; and all proof of 
Pompey's death will be lost. A happier age will 
come, when those who point out that stone will be 
disbelieved, and perhaps our descendants will con- 
sider Egypt as false in her tale of Pompey's tomb 
as Crete when she claims the tomb of Jupiter.* 

50 • 



At non in Pharia manes iacuere favilla, 

Nee cinis exiguus tantam conpescuit umbrara : 

Prosiluit busto semustaque membra relinquens 

Degeneremqiie rogum sequitur convexa Tonantis. 

Qua niger astriferis conectitur axibus aer 6 

Quodque patet terras inter lunaeque meatus, 

Semidei manes habitant, quos ignea virtus 

Innocuos vita patientes aetheris imi 

Fecit, et aeternos animam coilegit in orbes : 

Non illuc auro positi nee ture sepulti 10 

Perveniunt. Illic postquam se lumine vero 

Inplevit, stellasque vagas miratus et astra 

Fixa polis, vidit quanta sub nocte iaceret 

Nostra dies, risitque sui ludibria trunci. 

Hinc super Emathiae campos et signa cruenti 16 

Caesaris ac sparsas volitavit in aequore classes, 

Et scelerum vindex in sancto pectore Bruti 

Sedit et invicti posuit se mente Catonis. 

Ille, ubi pendebant casus dubiumque manebat, 
Quem dominum mundi facerent civilia bella, 20 

Oderat et Magnum, quamvis comes isset in arma 

^ The Stoics taught that the souls of the virtuous ascend to 
the moon's orbit, at which the dark air ends and tiie bright 
ether begins. 


But the spirit of Pompey did not linger down 
in Egypt among the embers, nor did that handful 
of ashes prison his mighty ghost. Soaring up from 
the burning-place, it left the charred limbs and 
unworthy pyre behind, and sought the dome of the 
Thunderer. Where our dark atmosphere — the 
intervening space between earth and the moon's orbit 
— joins on to the starry spheres, there after death 
dwell heroes, whose fiery quality has fitted them, 
after guiltless lives, to endure the lower limit of 
ether, and has brought their souls from all parts to 
the eternal splieres : ^ to those who are coffined in 
gold and buried with incense that realm is barred. 
When he had steeped himself in the true light of 
that region, and gazed at the planets and the fixed 
stars of heaven, he saw the thick darkness that veils 
our day, and smiled at the mockery done to his 
headless body. Then his spirit flew above the field 
of Pharsalia, the standards of bloodthirsty Caesar, 
and the ships scattered over the sea, till it settled, 
as the avenger of guilt, in the righteous breast of 
Brutus, and took up its abode in the heart of 
unconquerable Cato. 

While the issue remained uncertain, and none 
could tell whom the civil war would make master 
of the world, Cato hated Magnus as well as 
Caesar, though he had been swept away by his 


Auspiciis raptus patriae ductiique senatus ; 

At post Thessalicas clades iam pectore toto 

Pompeianus erat. Patriam tutore carentem 

Excepit, populi trepidantia membra refovit, 26 

Ignavis manibus proiectos reddidit enses, 

Nee regnum cupiens gessit civilia bella 

Nee servire timens. Nil causa fecit in armis 

Ille sua : totae post Magni funera partes 

Libertatis erant. Quas ne per litora fusas 30 

Colligeret rapido victoria Caesaris actu, 

Corcyrae secreta petit ac mille carinis 

Abstulit Emathiae secum fragmeiita ruinae. 

Quis ratibus tantis fugientia crederet ire 

Agmina ? quis pelagus victas artasse carinas ? 35 

Dorida tunc Malean et apertam Taenaron umbris, 
Inde Cythera petit, Boreaque urguente carinas 
Graia^ fugit, Dictaea legit cedentibus undis 
Litora. Tunc ausum classi praecludere portus 
Inpulit ac saevas meritum Phycunta rapinas 40 

Sparsit, et hinc placidis alto delabitur auris 
In litus, Palinure, tuum, — neque enim aequore tantum 
Ausonio monumenta tenes, portusque quietos 
Testatur Libye Phrygio placuisse magistro— • 
Cum procul ex alto tendentes vela carinae 46 

Ancipites tenuere animos, sociosne malorum 

1 Graia Housman : Greta M88. 

^ I.e. a fleet carrying men who had been defeated. 
* Paliurus seems to be the right name of the cape in Africa ; 
Palinurus is a promontory on the coast of Lucauia. 



country's cause to follow the Senate to Pompey's 
camp ; but now, after the defeat of Pharsalia, he 
favoured Pompey with his whole heart. When his 
country had no guardian, he took her in charge ; 
he revived the trembling limbs of the nation, and 
replaced the swords that coward hands had thrown 
down ; and he carried on the civil war, without 
either seeking to be a tyrant or fearing to be a 
slave. He did naught in arms to serve his own 
ends ; after the death of Magnus the whole party 
was the party of freedom. But they were scattered 
round the coasts ; and, that victorious Caesar might 
not pick them all up in his rapid progress, Cato 
sought the retirement of Corcyra and carried away 
with him in a thousand ships the wreck of the 
disaster at Pharsalia. Who would have believed 
that an army, conveyed on so many vessels, was in 
flight, or that the sea had proved too narrow for 
a vanquished fleet .''^ 

Next he went to Malea of the Dorians and 
Taenarus wher-e the dead may rise, and thence 
to Cythera, As the North wind sped on his keels, 
he shunned the shore of Greece and sailed along 
the coast of Crete, and the waves gave way before 
them. Then, when Phycus dared to close its 
harbour against the fleet, he overthrew it and laid 
in ruins a town which deserved to be sacked with- 
out mercy. Gentle breezes wafted him along the 
sea from here to the coast of Palinurus^ (for his 
memory is preserved not only in Italian waters, and 
Atiica bears witness that her peaceful harbour found 
favour with the Trojan steersman). Then the sight 
of ships sailing far out at sea kept them in suspense : 
were thoiie crews partners in misfortune or enemies? 



An veherent hostes : praeceps facit omne timendum 

Victor, et in nulla non creditur esse carina. 

Ast illae puppes luctus planctusque ferebant 

Et mala vel duri lacrimas motura Catonis. 50 

Nam postquam frustra precibus Cornelia nautas 
Privignique fugam tenuit, ne forte repulsus 
Litoribus Phariis remearet in aequora truncus, 
Ostenditque rogum non iusti flamma sepulchri, 
" Ergo indigna fui," dixit, " Fortuna, marito 65 

Accendisse rogum gelidosque eiFusa per artus 
Incubuisse viro, laceros exurere crines 
Membraque dispersi pelago conponere Magni^ 
Volneribus cunctis largos infundere fletus, 
Ossibus et tepida vestes inplere favilla, 60 

Quidquid ab exstincto licuisset tollere busto 
In templis sparsura deum ? Sine funeris ullo 
Ardet honore rogus ; manus hoc Aegyptia forsan 
Obtulit officium grave manibus. O bene nudi 
Crassorum cineres ! Pompeio contigit ignis 66 

Invidia maiore deum. Similisne malorum 
Sors mihi semper erit? numquam dare iusta licebit 
Coniugibus ? numquam plenas plangemus ad urnas ? 
Quid porro tumulis opus est aut ulla requiris 
Instrumenta, dolor ? non toto in pectore portas, 70 

Inpia, Pompeium } non imis haeret imago 
Visceribus ? quaerat cineres victura superstes. 
Nunc tamen hinc longe qui fulget luce maligna 
Ignis adhuc aliquid Phario de litore surgens 



The speed of Caesar makes everything dreadful, and 
they are convinced of his presence on every ship 
No, these vessels were freighted with mourning and 
lamentation, and with a sorrow that might draw 
tears even from stern Cato. 

For after Cornelia's prayers had fruitlessly stayed 
the flight of the sailors and her stepson, lest haply 
the corpse might be driven out to sea from the 
Egyptian shore, and when the flame revealed the 
pyre of those maimed rites, then she reproached 
Fortune : " Unworthy then was I to kindle my 
husband's pyre, to bend over the cold limbs, and 
throw myself upon the body ; unworthy to burn my 
torn tresses, to gather the limbs of Magnus scattered 
in the sea, to pour a flood of tears into every 
wound, and to fill my bosom with the bones and 
warm ashes, with the purpose of sprinkling in the 
temples of the gods whatever I might gather from 
the extinguished flame. The pyre burns on with no 
funeral honours ; perhaps some Egyptian hand prof- 
fered this service which the dead resents. Well is it 
that the remains of the Crassi lie unburied ; the fire 
that was granted to Pompey shows greater spite on 
the part of Heaven. Shall my sad lot ever repeat 
itself? Shall I never be allowed to give due 
burial to a husband? Shall I never mourn over an 
urn that contains ashes? But what need is there of 
a grave, or why does grief require any trappings ? 
Do I not, undutiful wife, carry Pompey in my whole 
breast? Does not his image cling to my inmost 
heart ? Let a wife who intends to survive her 
husband seek his ashes. But now this fire, which 
shines far away with scanty light, as it rises from 
the Egyptian shore, still shows me some part of 



Ostendit mihi, Magne, tui ; iam flamma resedit, 76 

Pompeiumque ferens vanescit solis ad ortus 
Fumus, et invisi tendunt mihi carbasa venti. 
Linquere, si qua fides, Pelusia litora nolo. 83 

Non mihi nunc tellus Pompeio si qua triumphos 
Victa dedit, non alta terens Capitolia currus 80 

Gratior ; elapsus felix de pectore Magnus : 
Hunc volumus, queni Nilus habet, terraeque nocenti 
Non haerere queror ; crimen commendat harenas. 
Tu pete bellorum casus et signa per orbem, 
Sexte, paterna move ; namque haec mandata reliquit 85 
Pompeius vobis in nostra condita cura : 
' Me cum fatalis leto damnaverit hora^ 
Excipite, o nati, bellum civile, nee umqnam, 
Dum terris aliquis nostra de stirpe manebit, 
Caesaribus regnare vacet. Vel sceptra vel urbes 90 

Libertate sua validas inpellite fama 
Nominis : has vobis partes, haec arma relinquo. 
Inveniet classes, quisquis Pompeius in undas 
Venerit, et noster nullis non gentibus heres 
Bella dabit : tantum indoraitos memoresque paterni 96 
luris habete animos. Uni parere decebit. 
Si faciet partes pro libertate, Catoni.' 
Exsolvi tibi, Magne, fidem, mandata peregi. 
Insidiae valuere tuae, deceptaque vixi, 
Ne mihi commissas auferrem perfida voces. 100 

lam nunc te per inane chaos, per Tartara, coniunx, 

^ The triumphal car of Pompey. 

« She implies that Pompey gave her this commission in order 
to prevent her from committing suicide. 



you, Magnus. The flame has now died down, and 
the smoke that carries Pompey away fades at sun- 
rise, and the hated winds are stretching the sails 
of my ship. With sorrow (if my words may be 
beheved) 1 leave the coast of Egypt. More welcome 
is it to me than any conquered country which pro- 
vided Pompey with triumphs, more welcome than 
the car^ which rolled over the pavement of the 
lofty Capitol. The Magnus of prosperous days has 
passed from my memoiy ; the Magnus I require is 
he whom the Nile possesses; and 1 complain that I 
may not cling to the guilty land ; its very guilt 
endears the strand to me. 1 bid you, Sextus, face 
the hazards of war and carry on your father's war- 
fare over all the world. For Pompey left this 
message for his sons, and it is treasured up in my 
memory: 'When the destined hour shall have 
condemned me to death, I bid you, my sons, take 
over civil war ; and never, while any scion of my 
stock remains on earth, let the Caesars reign in 
peace. Rouse up by the glory of our name either 
kings or States that are strong in their own 
freedom ; I leave you this part to play and these 
resources. A Pompey who takes to the sea will 
always find fleets, and my successor shall rouse all 
nations to war ; only let your hearts be ever tame- 
less and mindful of your father's power. Cato, and 
Cato alone, you may fitly obey, if he shall rally a 
party in defence ot freedom.' 1 have fulfilled my 
promise to Magnus and done his bidding ; his 
device ^ has been successful, and thus deceived I 
lived on, that 1 might not break faith and carry to 
the grave the words of his message. But now I 
will loUow my husband through empty chaos and 



Si sunt ulla^ sequar, quam longo tradita leto, 
Incertiim est : poenas animae vivacis ab ipsa 
Anteferam. Potuit cernens tua funera, Magne, 
Non fugere in mortem : planctu eontusa peribit, 105 
Effluet in lacrimas : nmnquam veniemus ad enses 
Aut laqueos aut praecipites per inania iactus. 
Turpe mori post te solo non posse dolore." 
Sic ubi fata, caput ferali obduxit amictu 
Decrevitque pati tenebras puppisque cavernis 110 

Delituit, saevumque arte conplexa dolorem 
Perfruitur lacrimis et amat pro coniuge luctum. 
Illam non fluctus stridensque rudentibus Eurus 
Movit et exsurgens ad summa pericula clamor, 
Votaque soUicitis faciens contraria nautis 115 

Conposita in mortem iacuit favitque procellis. 

Prima ratem Cypros spumantibus accipit undis ; 
Inde tenens pelagus, sed iam moderatior, Eurus 
In Libycas egit sedes et castra Catonis. 
Tristis, ut in multo mens est praesaga timore, 120 

Aspexit patrios comites a litore Magnus 
Et fratrem ; medias praeceps tunc fertur in undas : 
" Die, ubi sit, germane, parens ; stat summa caputque 
Orbis, an occidimus Romanaque Magnus ad umbras 
Abstulit ? " Haec fatur ; quem contra talia frater : 125 
" O felix, quem sors alias dispersit in oras 
Quique nefas audis : oculos, germane, nocentes 

* Gnaeus the elder sou. 


through Tartarus, if such a place there be. How 
distant the death to which I am doomed^ I know 
not ; ere it comes, I shall punish my life for lasting 
too long. It had the heart to see Magnus murdered 
and not to take refuge in death ; it shall end, 
bruised by blows from my hands ; it shall melt away 
in tears ; never shall I resort to the sword or noose 
or a headlong fall through the air; shame to me it 
I cannot die of grief alone, when he is dead." 
When she had spoken thus, she covered her head 
with a mourning veil ; determined to endure dark- 
ness, she hid in the hold of the ship, and, clasping 
closely her cruel sorrow, she makes tears her joy 
and loves her grief in place of her husband. Heed- 
less of the waves, of the East wind that howled 
in the rigging, and of the shouting that rose higher 
as the danger grew, she lay in the attitude of 
death ; what the frightened sailors prayed to escape, 
she prayed to suffer ; and she took the side of the 

Cyprus with its foaming waves first received their 
ship ; and then the East wind, still ruling the sea 
but with less fury, drove them to the land of Libya 
and Cato's camp. From the shore young Magnus ^ 
looked in sorrow, for the mind that fears intensely 
forebodes evil, at his brother and the companions of 
his father ; then he rushed headlong right into the 
waves. " Brother, say where is our father. Is the 
head and crown of the world still standing, or are 
we destroyed, and has Magnus taken with him to 
the shades all that was Rome?" Thus Gnaeus 
spoke ; and his brother answered him : " Happy are 
you, whom destiny drove to other lands, and who 
only hear the horror : my eyes are guilty, brother, 



Spectato genitore fero. Non Caesaris armis 
Occubuit dignoque perit auctore ruinae : 
Rege sub inpuro Nilotica rura tenente, 
Hospitii fretus superis et munere tanto 
In proavos, cecidit donati victima regni. 
Vidi ego magnanimi lacerantes pectora patris, 
Nee credens Pharium tantum potuisse tyraniiuni 
Litore Niliaco socerum iam stare putavi. 
Sed me nee sanguis nee tantum volnera nostri 
Adfecere senis, quantum gestata per urbem 
Ora ducis, quae transfixo sublimia pilo 
Vidimus ; haec fama est oculis victoris iniqui 
Servari, scelerisque fidem quaesisse tyrannum. 
Nam corpus Phariaene canes avidaeque volucres 
Distulerint, an furtivus, quem vidimus, ignis 
Solvent, ignoro. Quaecumque iniuria fati 
Abstulit hos artus, superis haec crimina dono : 
Servata de parte queror." Cum talia Magnus 
Audisset, non in gemitus lacrimasque dolorem 
Effudit, iustaque furens pietate profatur : 
" Praecipitate rates e sicco litore, nautae ; 
Classis in adversos erumpat remige ventos. 
Ite, duces, mecum (nusquam civilibus armis 
Tanta fuit merces) inhumatos condere manes. 
Sanguine semiviri Magnum satiare tyranni. 
Non ego Pellaeas arces adytisque retectum 
Corpus Alexandri pigra Mareotide mergam ? 

1 See n. to v. 60. 


because they looked on at my father's death. He 
did not fall by Caesar's arms, and no worthy hand 
laid him low. In the power of the foul monarch 
who rules the land of Nile, relying on the gods of 
hospitality and on the great boon he had conferred 
upon the dynasty, he fell, to atone for having given 
to them the crown. These eyes saw them hacking 
at the breast of our noble father ; and, not believing 
that the king of Egypt had possessed such power as 
that, I supposed that Caesar already stood on the 
shore of the Nile. But the blood and wounds of 
our aged sire moved me less than the carrying of 
his head through the city : I saw it borne aloft on a 
pike driven through it ; men said that it was being 
kept for the cruel conqueror to view, and that the 
king desired proof of his crime. As to the body, I 
know not whether the dogs and greedy vultures of 
Egypt tore it to pieces, or whether it was destroyed 
by the surreptitious fire that we saw. Whatever 
outrage of destiny made away with those limbs, I 
pardon Heaven for that crime ; but I complain of 
the part that was preserved." When young Magnus 
heard such a tale, he did not pour forth his grief in 
groans or tears ; but, maddened by rightful love for 
a father, he cried : " Hurry down your ships, ye 
sailors, from the dry land ; driven by the rowers, let 
the fleet burst out in the teeth of the wind : and 
go forth with me, ye leaders — nowhere was so great 
a prize offered to the fighters in civil war — to inter 
the unburied body of Magnus and appease his anger 
with the blood of the effeminate king. Shall I not 
drag forth the body of Alexander from its shrine and 
sink it, together with the Macedonian ^ city, beneath 
the sluggish waters of Lake Mareotis .'' Shall I not 


Non mihi pyramidum tumulis evolsus Amasis 
Atque alii reges Nilo torrente natabunt? 
Omnia dent poenas nudo tibi, Magne, sepulchra. 
Evolvam busto iam numen gentibus Isim 
Et tectum lino spargam per volgus Osirim, 
Suppositisque deis uram caput. Has mihi poenas 
Terra dabit : linquam vacuos cultoribus agros. 
Nee, Nilus cui crescat;, erit, solusque tenebis 
Aegypton, genitor, populis superisque fugatis," 
Dixerat et classem saevus rapiebat in undas ; 
Sed Cato laudatam iuvenis conpescuit iram. 

Interea totis audito funere Magni 
Litoribus sonuit percussus planctibus aether, 
Exemploque carens et nulli cognitus aevo 
Luctus erat, mortem populos deflere potentis. 
Sed magis, ut visa est lacrimis exhausta, solutas 
In voltus efFusa comas, Cornelia puppe 
Egrediens, rursus geminato verbere plangunt. 
Ut primum in sociae pervenit litora terrae, 
Collegit vestes miserique insignia Magni 
Armaque et inpressas auro, quas gesserat olim, 
Exuvias pictasque togas, velamina summo 
Ter conspecta lovi, funestoque intulit igni. 
Ille iuit miserae Magni cinis. Accipit omnis 
Exemplum pietas, et toto litore busta 

^ In Pompey's three triumphs. 



hale out Amasis and the other kings from their 
tombs in the Pyramids, and send them swimming 
down the current of the Nile ? Let all their tombs 
make atonement to Magnus who has none at all. I 
shall rifle the grave of Isis, now worshipped over the 
world ; the limbs of Osiris, swathed in linen, I shall 
scatter in the public streets ; I shall lay the gods as 
fuel whereon to burn my father's head. And the 
land I shall punish too ; I shall leave their fields 
with none to till them ; the Nile shall rise, and there 
shall be none to use it ; men and gods shall be 
expelled from Egypt, and you, my father, alone shall 
possess the land." Thus he spoke, and sought in his 
rage to launch the ships with speed ; but Cato, 
while praising the youth, restrained his fury. 

Meanwhile, when the death of Pompey was 
reported, all along the shore the sound of beaten 
breasts was heard, till the sky rang with it ; un- 
exampled was that mourning, and unknown to any 
age — that the common people should lament the 
death of a great man. But when Cornelia was 
seen disembarking, having wept till she could weep 
no more, and with her loosened hair falling down 
over her face, still more the people renewed their 
lamentation with redoubled blows. As soon as she 
reached the shore of a friendly land, she gathered 
together the garments and badges of her hapless 
husband, his weapons, and the robes, embroidered 
with gold, which he once had worn, and the toga of 
many colours — the dress which supreme Jupiter had 
thrice beheld ^ — and placed them all upon a funeral 
fire. They were the ashes of her husband to her 
sad heart. Her example was followed by all loving 
hearts ; and pyres were raised all along the shore, 



Surgunt Thessalicis reddentia manibus ignem. 

Sic, ubi depastis summittere gramina campis 

Et renovare parans hibernas Apulus herbas 

Igne fovet terras, simul et Garganus et arva 

Volturis et calidi lucent buceta Matini. 186 

Non tamen ad Magni pervenit gratius umbras 

Omne quod in superos audet convicia volgus 

Pompeiumque dels obicit, quam pauca Catonis 

Verba sed a pleno venientia pectore veri. 

" Civis obit," inquit ^' multum maioribus inpar 190 

Nosse modum iuris, sed in hoc tamen utilis aevo, 

Cui non uUa fuit iusti reverentia ; sal\ a 

Libertate potens et solus plebe parata 

Privatus servire sibi rectorque senatus, 

Sed regnantis, erat. Nil belli iure poposcit, 195 

Quaeque dari voluit, voluit sibi posse negari 

Inmodicas possedit opes, sed plura retentis 

Intulit. Invasit ferrum, sed ponere norat. 

Praetulit arma togae, sed pacem armatus amavit ; 

luvit sumpta ducem, iuvit dimissa potestas. 200 

Casta domus luxuque carens corruptaque numquam 

Fortuna domini. Clarum et venerabile nomen 

Gentibus, et multum nostrae quod proderat urbi. 

Olim vera fides Sulla Marioque receptis 

Libertatis obit : Pompeio rebus adempto 206 



and gave their due of fire to the men who died at 
Pharsalia. So, when the ApuUan burns the soil, in 
order to make grass grow on the close-cropped 
plains and get fresh herbage for winter, then Mount 
Garganus and the fields of Vultur and the pastures 
of warm Matinussend forth light together. Though 
all alike dared to revile Heaven, and blamed the 
gods for Pompey's death, yet a tribute as welcome 
to the shade of Magnus came in the words of Cato : 
few th^y were, but they came from a heart fraught 
with truth. He said : " The citizen who has fallen, 
though far inferior to our ancestors in recognising 
the limits of what is lawful, was yet valuable in our 
generation, which has shown no respect for justice. 
He was powerful without destroying freedom ; he 
alone, when the people were willing to be his 
slaves, remained in private station ; he ruled the 
Senate, but it was a Senate of kings. He based no 
claims upon the right of armed force ; what he 
wished to receive, he wished that others should have 
the power to refuse him. He acquired enormous 
wealth ; but he paid into the treasury more than he 
kept back. He snatched the sword ; but he knew 
how to lay it down. He preferred war to peace ; 
but he was a lover of peace even when he wielded 
the weapons of war. It pleased him to accept office, 
and it pleased him also to resign it. His household 
was pure and free from extravagance, and never 
spoilt by the greatness of its master. His name is 
illustrious and revered among all nations, and did 
much service to our own State. Sincere belief in 
Rome's freedom died long ago, when Sulla and 
Marius were admitted within the walls ; but now, 
when Pompey has been removed from the world, 



Nunc et ficta perit. Non iam regnare pudebit. 

Nee color imperii nee frons erit ulla senatus. 

O felix, cui summa dies fuit obvia victo 

Et cui quaerendos Pharium scelus obtulit enses . 

Forsitan in soceri potuisses vivere regno. 210 

Scire mori sors prima viris, sed proxima cogi. 

Et mihi, si fatis aliena in iura venimus, 

Fac talem, Fortuna, lubam ; non deprecor hosti 

Servari, dum me servet cervice recisa." 

Vocibus his maior, quam si Romana sonarent 216 

Rostra ducis laudes, generosam venit ad umbram 
Mortis honos. Fremit interea discordia volgi, 
Castrorum bellique piget post funera Magni ; 
Cum Tarcondimotus linquendi signa Catonis 
Sustulit. Hunc rapta fugientem classe secutus 220 

Litus in extremum tali Cato voce notavit : 
" O numquam pacate Cilix, iterumne rapinas 
Vadis in aequoreas ? Magnum fortuna removit : 
lam pelago pirata redis." Tum respicit omnes 
In coetu motuque viros, quorum unus aperta 225 

Mente fugae tali conpellat voce regentem : 
" Nos, Cato, — da veniam — Pompei duxit in arma, 
Non belli civilis amor, partesque favore 
Fecimus. Ille iacet, quem paci praetulit orbis. 

* color imperii means **a pretence of possessing military 
authority legally conferred " (Housman). 

* Macaulay says of this speech (190-203): "a pure gem of 
rhetoric without one flaw and, in my opinion, not very tar 
from historical truth " {Life I, p. 458). 

3 The King of Cjlicia, 


even the sham belief is dead. No tyrant need 
blush in future : there will be no pretence of military 
command/ and the Senate will never again be used 
as a screen. Fortunate was he, because his last day 
followed close on defeat, and because the Egyptian 
butchers forced upon him the death he should have 
courted. He might perhaps have stooped to go on 
living under the tyranny of his kinsman. Happiest 
of all men are those who know when to die ; and 
next come those upon whom death is forced. For 
myself, if destiny bring us into the power of others, 
I pray that Fortune will make Juba play the part of 
Ptolemy : I am willing enough that he should keep 
me for Caesar, on condition that he keeps me with 
my head cut off." * 

By these words greater honour in death was 
rendered to the noble shade than if the Rostrum 
at Rome had sounded his praise. Meanwhile the 
soldiery were loud in mutiny ; they were weary 
of the camp and warfare now that Pompey was 
dead ; and then Tarcondimotus ^ raised the signal for 
deserting Cato. He snatched his ships for flight, 
but Cato followed him to tlie edge of the shore, and 
thus rebuked him : " Do you go forth again to 
practise robbery on the seas, you Cilician who have 
never accepted peace ? Fortune has taken Magnus 
away, and at once you return to the sea as a pirate." 
Then he looked at them all, as they crowded to- 
gether in haste ; and one of them, whose intention 
to fly was clear, thus addressed the general : ** Pardon 
us, Cato. It was love of Pompey, not of civil war, 
that roused us to arms, and we took sides out of 
favour for him. But he lies low, whom the world 
preferred to peace, and our cause has ceased to 


Caiisaque nostra perit ; patrios permitte penates 230 

Desertamque domum dulcesque revisere natos. 

Nam quis erit finis, si nee Pharsalia pugnae, 

Nee Pompeius erit? Perierunt tempora vitae: 

Mors eat in tutum, iustas sibi nostra senectus 

Prospiciat flammas ; bellum civile sepulehra 235 

Vix ducibus praestare potest. Non barbara victos 

Regna nianent, non Armenium mihi saeva minatur 

Aut Scythicum fortuna iugum : sub iura togati 

Civis eo. Quisquis Magno vivente secundus. 

Hie mihi primus erit. Sacris praestabitur umbris 240 

Summus honor ; dominum, quem clades cogit, habebo, 

Nullum, Magne, ducem : te solum in bella secutus 

Post te fata sequar ; nee enim sperare secunda 

Fas mihi nee liceat. Fortuna cuncta tenentur 

Caesaris ; Emathium sparsit victoria ferrum ; 245 

Clausa fides miseris, et toto solus in orbe est. 

Qui velit ac possit victis praestare salutem. 

Pompeio scelus est bellum civile perempto, 

Quo fuerat vivente fides. Si piiblica iura, 

Si semper sequeris patriam, Cato^ signa petamus, 250 

Romanus quae consul habet." Sic ille profatus 

Insiluit puppi iuvenum comitante tumultu. 

Actum Romanis fuerat de rebus, et omnis 
Indlga servitii fervebat litore plebes : 
Erupere ducis sacro de pectore voces : 265 

" Ergo pari voto gessisti bella, iuventus, 

^ The allusion is to Pompey. 

• This cannot refer to Caesar himself, who was not now 
wearing the toga. 

^ Caesar was one of the two consuls then in oflSce. 



exist; suffer us to return to our native homes, our 
deserted households and the children of our love. 
For what end will there ever be of fighting, if 
neither Pharsalia nor the death of Pompey ends it? 
Our lifetime has been wasted ; let our last days find 
a refuge ; let our old age look forward to due funeral 
rites ; civil war can hardly provide graves even for 
leaders.^ We are defeated, but no foreign rule 
awaits us ; cruel Fortune does not threaten me with 
oppression from Armenian or Scythian ; I pass into 
the power of Roman citizens.^ Whoever was 
second to Magnus while Magnus lived, shall now 
rank first with me. But high honour shall I pay to 
the sacred dead : though I shall acknowledge the 
master whom defeat forces upon me, 1 shall acknow- 
ledge no leader but Magnus. Him alone I followed 
to war ; now he is dead, I shall follow destiny ; for I 
may not hope for good fortune, nor would it be 
permitted. All things are hemmed in by Caesar's 
greatness ; his victory has scattered the army of 
Pharsalia ; the hopes of the unfortunate have shrunk 
to little compass, and he alone in the world has the 
will and the power to grant their lives to the 
vanquished. Civil war, which was loyalty while 
Pompey lived, is criminal now that he is slain. If 
you, Cato, are always a faithful follower of national 
law and your country's cause, then let us seek the 
standards which the Roman consul ^ bears." With 
these words he sprang on board, and his soldiers in 
disorder went with him. 

The cause of Rome was as good as lost, and all the 
rabble, at a loss for want of a master, swarmed upon 
the shore. But utterance came with a rush from 
the sacred breast of Cato : " It seems then, soldiers, 



Tu quoque pro dominis^ et Pompeiana fuisti, 

Non Romana manus ? quod non in regna laboras, 

Quod tibi, non ducibus, vivis morerisque, quod orbem 

Adquiris nulli, quod iam tibi vincere tutura est, 260 

Bella fugis quaerisque iugum cervice vacanti 

Et nescis sine rege pati. Nunc causa pericli 

Digna viris. Potuit vestro Pompeius abuti 

Sanguine : nunc patriae iugulos ensesque negatis. 

Cum prope libertas ? Unum fortuna reliquit 265 

lam tribus e dominis. Pudeat : plus regia Nili 

Contulit in leges et Parthi militis arcus. 

Ite, o degeneres, Ptolemaei munus et arma 

Spernite. Quis ulla putet esse nocentes 

Caede manus ? credet faciles sibi terga dedisse, 270 

Credet ab Emathiis primos fugisse Philippis. 

Vadite securi ; meruistis iudice vitam 

Caesare non armis^ non obsidione subacti. 

O famuli turpes, domini post fata prioris 

Itis ad heredem. Cur non maiora mereri 275 

Quam vitam veniamque libet ? rapiatur in undas 

Infelix coniunx Magni prolesque Metelli, 

Ducite Pompeios, Ptolemaei vincite munus. 

Nostra quoque inviso quisquis feret ora tyranno, 

Non parva mercede dabit : sciet ista iuventus 280 

^ The triumvirs : see n. to i. 4. 

* Ptolemy relieved you of Pompey, and the Parthians of 
Crassus ; your own swords can rid you of Caesar. 
' I.e. Pharsalia. 



that j'^oii too foui^ht with the same desire as others, 
in defence of tyranny — that you were the troops of 
Pompey, and not of Rome. You no longer suffer in 
order to set up a tyrant ; your life and death belong 
)l to yourselves, not to your leaders ; there is no one 
for whom you gain the whole world, and now you 
may safely conquer for yourselves alone. Yet now 
you desert the ranks ; you miss the yoke when your 
neck is relieved, and you cannot endure existence 
without a tyrant. But you have now a quarrel 
worthy of brave men. Pompey was suffered to 
make full use of your life-blood : now, wlien freedom 
is in sight, do you refuse to fight and die for your 
country ? Out of three masters ^ Fortune has 
spared but one. Shame on you ! The court of 
Egypt and the bow of the Parthian soldier have done 
more for the cause of lawful government. Depart, 
degenerate men, neglectful alike of Ptolemy's gift 
and your own weapons. ^ Who would suppose that 
your hands were ever stained with bloodshed ^ 
Caesar will take your word for it that you were 
quick to turn your backs to him, and first in the 
flight from Philippi ^ in Thessaly. Go and fear not : 
if Caesar be your judge, you, who were not subdued 
by battle or siege, have deserved to have your lives 
spared. Base slaves I your former master is dead, 
and you welcome his heir. Why do you not seek 
to earn a greater reward than mere life and pardon ? 
Seize the hapless wife of Magnus and daughter of 
Metellus, and carry her over the sea ; lead captive 
the sons of Pompey ; and so outdo the gift of 
Ptolemy, Also, whoever bears my head to the hated 
tyrant will receive no small reward for his gift. By 
the price of my head your troops will learn that they 



Cervicis pretio bene se mea signa sccutam. 

Quin agite et magna meritum cum caede parate ; 

Ignavum scelus est tantiim fuga." Dixit et omiies 

Haud aliter medio revocavit ab aequore puppes, 

Quam, simul eff'etas linquimt examina ceras 285 

Atque oblita favi non miscent nexibus alas, 

Sed sibi quaeque volat nee lam degustat amarum 

Desidiosa thymum, Phrygii sonus increpat aeris, 

Attonitae posuere fugam studiumque laboris 

Floriferi repetunt et sparsi niellis amorem; 290 

Gaudet in Hyblaeo securus gramine pastor 

Divitias servasse casae. Sic voce Catonis 

Inculcata viris iusti patientia Martis. 

lamque actu belli non doctas ferre quietem 
Constituit mentes serieque agitare laborum. 295 

Primum litoreis miles lassatur harenis. 
Proximus in muros et moenia Cyrenarum 
Est labor; exclusus nulla se vindicat ira, 
Poenaque de victis sola est vicisse Catoni. 
Inde peti placuit Libyci contermina Mauris 300 

Regna lubae, sed iter mediis natura vetabat 
Syrtibus : banc audax sperat sibi cedere virtus. 

Syrtes vel primam mundo natura figuram 
Cum daret, in dubio pelagi terraeque reliquit 
(Nam neque subsedit penitus, quo stagna profundi 305 
Acciperet, nee se defendit ab aequore tellus, 
Ambigua sed lege loci iacet invia sedes, 

1 Cymbals were used in the worship of the Phrygian goddess, 
Cybele, or the Great Mother. 

* The Syrtes, of which Lucan makes so much, seem to have 
lost their ancient terrors. They are two rocky gulfs, now called 
Sidra and Gab^s, on the north coast of Africa, between Gyrene 
and Carthage. 



did well to follow my standard. Rouse up therefore, 
commit a mighty crime, and gain your reward. 
Mere flight is the crime of cowards." By this speech 
he recalled all the ships from mid-sea. Even so, 
when the swarm deserts the cells that have hatched 
their young, they forget the comb ; their wings are 
no longer intertwined, but each bee flies indepen- 
dently and plays truant, ceasing to suck the bitter 
thyme ; but, if the sound of Phrygian brass ^ rebukes 
them, at once in alarm they stop their flight and go 
back to their task of bearing pollen, and renew 
their love of scattered honey ; the shepherd on the 
meadow of Hybla is relieved, and rejoices that the 
wealth of his cottage is safe. Thus by Cato's words 
the resolution to endure lawful warfare was impressed 
upon his men. 

And now by works of war and continuous tasks he 
resolved to keep busy men who knew not how to 
remain inactive. First the soldiers toiled till they 
were weary, digging the sand upon the shore ; their 
next task was against the walls and fortifications of 
Cyrene ; when shut out from there, Cato took no 
harsh revenge — the only penalty he exacted from 
the conquered was to have conquered them. Next 
it was resolved to seek the realm of Libyan Juba 
that borders on the Moors ; and, though Nature 
barred their way by placing the Syrtes ^ between, 
daring valour hoped to defeat Nature. 

When Nature first gave shape to the world, either 
she left the Syrtes to be disputed by sea and land 
alike ; for the land did not sink down deep, so as to 
admit the water of the ocean, nor yet defend itself 
against the sea, but the region lies untravelled, 
owing to the uncertain conditions that prevail 



Aeqnora fracta vadis abruptaque terra profundo, 
Et post inulta sonant proiecti litora fluctus: 
Sic male deseruit nullosque exegit in usus 
Hanc partem natura sui) ; vel plenior alto 
Glim Syrtis erat pelago penitusque natabat, 
Sed rapidus Titan ponto sua luniina pascens 
Aequora subduxit zonae vicina perustae ; 
Et nunc pontus adhuc Phoebo siccante repugnat, 
Mox, ubi damnosum radios admoverit aevum, 
Tellus Syrtis erit ; nam iam brevis unda superne 
Innatatj et late periturum deficit aequor. 

Ut primum remis actum mare propulit omne 
Classis onus, densis fremuit niger imbribus Auster. 
In sua regna furens temptatum classibus aequor 
Turbine defendit longeque a Syrtibus undas 
Egit et inlato con f regit litore pontum. 
Tum, quarum recto deprendit carbasa malo, 
Eripuit nautis, frustraque rudentibus ausis 
Vela negare Noto spatium vicere carinae, 
Atque ultra proram tumuit sinus. Omnia si quis 
Providus antemnae suffixit lintea summae, 
Vincitur et nudis averritur armamentis. 
Sors melior classi, quae fluctibus incidit altis 
Et certo iactata mari. Quaecumque levatae 
Arboribus caesis flatum effudere prementem, 
Abstulit has liber ventis contraria volvens 

1 The South. 

* Whereas the Syrtis was neither land nor sea. 


there — sea broken by shoals, and dry land severed 
by sea — and the waves strike beach after beach 
before they collapse with a roar. So unkindly 
has Nature deserted this part of herself, and 
demands no service of it. Or else, the Syrtis was 
once more richly supplied with deep sea, and lay 
far below the surface ; but the parching sun, 
feeding his light with ocean, sucked up the water, 
which is near the torrid zone ; and thus, though now 
the sea still resists the drying action of the sun, 
ere long, when injurious time brings his heat close, 
the Syrtis will become dry land ; for already the 
waves that cover it are shallow, and the water, soon 
to disappear, is everywhere scantily supplied. 

As soon as the sea, driven by the oars, bore on- 
ward all the heavy fleet, a black South wind roared 
with incessant rain. Raging against its own domain,^ 
it protected by a hurricane the waters on which the 
ships had ventured, driving the waves far from the 
Syrtes and breaking up the sea with intervals of 
land. Next, if it caught the sails of any ship with 
mast erect, it tore them from the sailors' grasp ; in 
vain the cordage strove to rescue the sails from the 
wind, and the canvas stretched out beyond the 
ship, its folds flapping out further than the prow. If 
any prudent mariner had brailed up all his sails to 
the top of the yard, he was defeated and driven out 
of his course with bare poles. Those ships fared 
better which rode upon deep water and were tossed 
upon a sea that was sea indeed.^ But if any were 
lightened by cutting away the masts, and thus 
allowed the driving blast to pass over them, then the 
tide, free from control, swept them in the opposite 
direction to the gale, and carried them away, 


VOL. I. S 


Aestus et obnixum victor detrusit in Austrum. 

Has vada destituunt, atque interrupta profundo 336 

Terra ferit puppes, dubioque obnoxia fato 

Pars sedet una ratis, pars altera pendet in undis. 

Turn magis inpactis brevius mare terraque saepe 

Obvia consurgens ; quamvis elisus ab Austro, 

Saepe tamen cumulos fluctus non vincit harenae. 340 

Eminet in tergo pelagi procul omnibus arvis 

Inviolatus aqua sicci iam pulveris agger ; 

Stant miseri nautae, terraeque haerente carina 

Litora nulla vident. Sic partem intercipit aequor ; 

Pars ratium maior regimen clavumque secuta est 345 

Tuta fuga, nautasque loci sortita peritos 

Torpentem Tritonos adit inlaesa paludem. 

Hanc, ut fama, deus, quern toto litore pontus 
Audit ventosa perflantem marmora^ concha, 
Hanc et Pallas amat, patrio quae vertice nata 360 

Terrarum primam Libyen — nam proxima caelo est, 
Ut probat ipse calor — tetigit, stagnique quieta 
Voltus vidit aqua posuitque in margine plantas 
Et se dilecta Tritonida dixit ab unda. 
Quam iuxta Lethon tacitus praelabitur amnis^ 366 

Infernis, ut fama, trahens oblivia venis, 
Atque, insopiti quondam tutela draconis, 
Hesperidum pauper spoliatis frondibus hortus. 
Invidus, annoso qui famam derogat aevo. 
Qui vates ad vera vocat. Fuit aurea silva 360 

Divitiisque graves et fulvo germine rami 

^ marmora luniiis : murmura MS8. 

^ Triton. Tiie lake is near the lesser (and more westerly) 


conquering them and driving them against the 
opposing South wind. These were left stranded by 
the shallows, where land, broken by sea, wrecks 
them ; exposed to a double danger, half the vessel 
is aground, while half floats on the waves. Then, as 
the ships were driven further, the sea contracted and 
the dry land constantly emerged and struck them : 
the waves, though tossed by the South wind, often 
fail to rise above the sandbanks. Far from all the 
fields, a rampart of dry sand rises up on the surface 
of the sea and defies the water ; the hapless sailors 
stick fast : though their keel is aground, no shore is 
visible. Thus the sea destroyed some of the ships, 
but the larger part, following the guidance of the 
helm, were saved by flight; and finding pilots 
familiar with the shore, they reached unharmed the 
sluggish lake of Triton. 

This lake, as legend tells, is dear to the god/ who 
is heard by all the sea-shore as he fills the waters with 
the music of his windy shell ; and dear to Pallas too. 
When she was born from her father's head, she 
alighted on Libya before any other land ; for Libya, 
as its heat alone proves, is nearest the sky ; and 
there she saw her face in the still water of the pool, 
and stood by its brink, and called herself Tritonis 
after the lake she loved. Near it silently steals past 
the river of Lethon, which, as legend tells, carries 
forgetfulness from its source in the lower world; 
and here is the Garden of the Hesperides, once the 
charge of the sleepless dragon but now impoverished 
by the rifling of its branches. Churlish is he who 
robs hoary antiquity of its fame and demands the 
truth from poets. There was once a golden grove, 
whose trees bowed beneath their riches and the 



Virgineusque chorus, nitidi custodia luci, 

Et numquam somno damnatus lumina serpens 

Robora conplexus rutilo curvata metallo. 

Abstulit arboribus pretium nemorique laborem 365 

Alcides, passusque inopes sine pondere ramos 

Rettulit Argolico fulgentia poma tyranno. 

His igitur depulsa locis eiectaque classis 
Syrtibus baud ultra Garamantidas attigit undas, 
Sed duce Pompeio Libyae melioris in oris 370 

Mansit. At inpatiens virtus Iiaerere Catonis 
Audet in ignotas agmen committere gentes 
Armorum fidens et terra cingere Syrtim. 
Hoc eadem suadebat hiems, quae clauserat aequor ; 
Et spes imber erat nimios metuentibus ignes, 37o 

Ut neque sole viam nee duro frigore saevam 
Inde polo Libyes, hinc bruma temperet annus. 
Atque ingressurus steriles sic fatur harenas : 

" O quibus una salus placuit mea signa secutis 
Indomita cervice mori, conponite mentes 38() 

Ad magnum virtutis opus summosque labores. 
Vadimus in campos steriles exustaque mundi, 
Qua nimius Titan et rarae in fontibus undae, 
Siecaque letiferis squalent serpentibus arva. 
Durum iter ad leges patriaeque ruentis amorem. 386 
Per mediani Libyen veniant atque in via temptent, 

* Eurystheus. 

^ ' ' Garamantian " seems to be used loosely for * ' Libyan. " Tlie 
fJaramantes lived in an oasis of the Sahara, far distant from 
the sea. 

3 ** Down to 394 very good " (Heitlaud, Introd., p. Ixx;. 


tawny fruit of their branches ; and a band of maidens 
guarded that glittering grove ; and a serpent, whose 
eyes were never doomed to close in sleep, coiled 
round the trees that bent beneath the ruddy metal. 
But Alcides robbed the trees of their prize and 
eased the grove of its task, when he left the 
branches without their weight of wealth and carried 
back the shining apples to the king of Argos.^ 

Thus the ships, driven from their course and cast 
forth from the Syrtes, remained in this region, on the 
shore of the better part of Libya, with Pompeius as 
commander ; nor did they sail further on the Garaman- 
tian 2 waters. But brave Cato was unwilling to stand 
still : emboldened by his armed strength, he dared to 
trust his soldiers to lands unknown and to march round 
the Syrtis on foot. Winter also, by closing the sea 
against them, prompted this course, and rains were 
welcome to men who feared excessive heat : the 
season might save them from suffering from either 
sun or freezing cold, and temper their march by the 
climate of Africa on the one hand and by winter on 
the other. And before he set foot upon the barren 
desert, Cato made them this speech : ^ 

" Men who have chosen this one path of safety — 
to follow my standard to the death with spirits 
unsubdued, prepare your minds for a high feat of 
valour and for utmost hardships. We march towards 
barren plains and the furnace of the world, where 
the sun's heat is excessive and water is seldom 
found in the springs, and where the parched fields 
are foul with venomous serpents. Hard is the path 
to freedom, and hard to win the love of our country 
in her fall. Let those march through the heart of 
Africa, seeking a path where there is none, who do 



Si quibus in nullo positum est evadere voto. 

Si quibus ire sat est. Neque enim mihi fallere quemquam 

Est animus tectoque metu perducere volgus. 

Hi mihi sint comites, quos ipsa pericula ducent, 390 

Qui me teste pati vel quae tristissima pulchrum 

Romanumque putant. At qui sponsore salutis 

Miles eget capiturque animae dulcedine, vadat 

Ad dominum meliore via. Dum primus harenas 

Ingrediar primusque gradus in pulvere ponam, 395 

Me calor aetherius feriat, mihi plena veneno 

Occurrat serpens, fatoque pericula vestra 

Praetemptate meo. Sitiat, quicumque bibentem 

Viderit, aut umbras nemorum quicumque petentem, 

Aestuet, aut equitem peditum praecedere turmas, 400 

Deficiat : si quo fuerit discrimine notum. 

Dux an miles earn. Serpens, sitis, ardor harenae 

Dulcia virtuti ; gaudet patientia duris ; 

Laetius est, quotiens magno sibi constat, honestum. 

Sola potest Libye turba praestare malorum, 405 

Ut deceat fugisse viros." Sic ille paventes 

Incendit virtu te animos et amore laborura, 

Inreducemque viam deserto limite carpit; 

Et sacrum parvo nomen clausura sepulchre 

Invasit Libye securi fata Catonis. 410 

Tertia pars rerum Libye, si credere famae 
Cuncta velis ; at, si ventos caelumque sequaris. 
Pars erit Europae. Nee enim plus litora Nili 
Quam Scythicus Tanais primis a Gadibus absunt^ 

* At Pharsalia. 


not regard esca[)e as a thing to be at all desired, 
and are content merely to march on. For I do not 
intend to deceive any man, nor to draw the army on 
by concealing the danger. I seek as my companions 
men who are attracted by the risks themselves, men 
who think it glorious and worthy of a Roman to 
endure even the worst, with me to watch them. 
But if any man craves a guarantee of safety and 
is tempted by the sweetness of life, let him take 
an easier path and go to a master. Foremost I shall 
tread the desert, and foremost set foot upon the 
sand ; let the heat of the sky then beat upon me 
and the poisonous serpent stand in my path; and 
test your perils beforehand by what befalls me. If 
any man see me drinking, or seeking the shade of 
trees, or riding in front of the marching troops, then 
let him feel thirst and heat and weariness — if there 
is any distinction to mark whetlier I am the general 
or a soldier in the ranks. Serpents, thirst, burning- 
sand — all are welcomed by the brave ; endurance 
finds pleasure in hardship ; virtue rejoices when it 
pays dear for its existence. Africa alone, with all 
her plagues, can bring it about, that to have fled^ 
is no disgrace to the brave." Thus he fired their 
frightened hearts with courage and love of hardship, 
and began, by a track through the desert, that march 
from which there was no returning. For Africa, that 
was to hide his sacred name in a humble grave, laid 
hold upon the last days of Cato, but Cato cared not. 
Libya is the third continent of the world, if one 
is willing in all things to trust report ; but, if you 
judge by the winds and the sky, you will find it to 
be part of Europe. For the banks of the Nile are 
not further than the northern Tanais from Gades in 



Unde Europa fugit Libyen et litora Hexu 416 

Oceano fecere locum ; sed maior in unam 

Orbis abit Asiam. Nam cum communiter istae 

Effundant Zephyrum, Boreae latus ilia sinistrum 

Contingens dextrumque Noti discedit in ortus 

Eurum sola tenens. Libycae quod fertile terrae est 420 

Vergit in occasus ; sed et haec non fontibus uUis 

Solvitur : Arctoos raris Aquilonibus imbres 

Accipit et nostris reficit sua rura serenis. 

In nullas vitiatur opes ; non aere neque auro 

Excoquitur, nullo glaebarum crimine pura 426 

Et penitus terra est. Tantum Maurusia genti 

Robora divitiae, quarum non noverat usum, 

Sed citri contenta comis vivebat et umbra. 

In nemus ignotum nostrae venere secures, 

Extremoque epulas mensasque petimus ab orbe. 430 

At, quaecumque vagam Syrtim conplectitur ora 

Sub nimio proiecta die, vicina perusti 

Aetheris, exurit messes et pulvere Bacchum 

Enecat et nulla putris radice tenetur. 

Temperies vitalis abest, et nulla sub ilia 435 

Cura lovis terra est ; natura deside torpet 

Orbis et inmotis annum non sentit liarenis. 

Hoc tam segne solum raras tamen exerit herbas, 

Quas Nasamon, gens dura, legit, qui proxima ponto 

Nudus rura tenet ; quem mundi barbara damnis 440 

* The Mediterranean. 


the far West, at which point Europe diverges from 
Libya and the curvature of the sliores has made 
room for the sea.^ But a larger part of the world 
has gone to form Asia alone. For, whereas Europe 
and Africa in partnership send forth the West wind, 
Asia, while touching the left side of the North and 
the right side of the South, stretches away to the 
East and has a monopoly of the East wind. The 
fertile part of Africa lies towards the West, but 
even this has no streams to break it up ; occasionally, 
when the North winds blow, it gets the northern 
rains and refreshes its fields by our fair weather. 
The soil is not violated to secure wealth of any 
kind ; it is not smelted for the sake of copper or 
gold ; its clods are innocent, and its earth is merely 
earth, even far below the surface. The land is rich in 
nothing but the timber of Mauretania ; and, ignorant 
how to make use of this wealth, tiie people lived 
content with the leafy shade of the citrus- tree. But 
our axes have invaded the unknown forest, and we 
have sought tables as well as dainties from the end 
of the earth. But all that coast which surrounds 
the shifting Syrtis, as it lies flat under the scorching 
sun and near the parched sky, burns up corn-crops 
and smothers the vine with dust ; and the powdery 
soil is bound togetlier by no roots of plants. The 
temperate air that life needs is not found there, and 
Jupiter pays no heed to the land ; Nature is in- 
active ; the lifeless expanse, with sands that are 
never ploughed, is unconscious of the seasons. Yet 
this barren soil here and there sends forth grass 
which is gathered by the Nasamonians, a rude and 
naked race who dwell close by the sea ; and the 
savage Syrtis feeds them by the plunder of the 



Syrtis alit. Nam litoreis populator harenis 
Inminet et nulla portus tangente carina 
Novit opes ; sic cum toto commercia mundo 
Naufragiis Nasamones habent. Hac ire Catonem 
Dura iubet virtus. Illic secura iuventus 446 

Ventorum nullasque timens tellure procellas 
Aequoreos est passa metus. Nam litore sicco, 
Quam pelago, Syrtis violentius excipit Austrum, 
Et terrae magis ille nocens. Non montibus ortum 
Adversis frangit Libye scopulisque repulsum 450 

Dissipat et liquidas e ^ turbine solvit in auras. 
Nee ruit in silvas annosaque robora torquens 
Lassatur : patet omne solum, liberque meatu 
Aeoliam rabiem totis exercet harenis, 
Et non imbriferam contorto pulvere nubem 465 

In flexum violentus agit : pars plurima terrae 
ToUitur et numquam resoluto vortice pendet. 
Regna videt pauper Nasamon errantia vento 
Discussasque domos, volitantque a culmine raptae 
Detect© Garamante casae. Non altius ignis 460 

Rapta vehit ; quantumque licet consurgere fumo 
Et violare diem, tantus tenet aera pulvis. 
Tum quoque Romanum solito violentior agmen 
Adgreditur, nullisque potest consistere miles 
Instabilis, raptis etiam quas calcat, harenis. 465 

Concuteret terras orbemque a sede moveret. 
Si solida Libye conpage et pondere duro 
Clauderet exesis Austrum scopulosa cavernis ; 

* liquidas e Grotius : liquidas se M83. 
* The prison of the winds. 



world. For the wrecker lies in wait on the sandy 
shore, and he is familiar with wealth, though no 
ship reaches harbour there ; thus, by means of 
shipwrecks, the Nasamonians trade with all nations. 
Through this land Cato is bidden march by his 
stern valour. There the soldiers, reckoning on no 
gales and dreading no storms on land, endured the 
fears that belong to the sea. For the South wind 
falls more fiercely upon the dry shore of the Syrtis 
than upon the deep, and does more damage to the 
land. Libya has no mountains to oppose the rising 
wind and break its force, no cliffs to drive it back 
and scatter it, or to turn its hurricane to clear 
breezes ; it does not fall upon forests and wear itself 
out by bending ancient oaks : all the land is level, 
and the wind travels freely and wreaks the fury of 
Aeolia^ all over the desert. There is no rain in the 
cloud of whirling dust which it drives furiously in 
circles ; most of the land is lifted up by it and is 
suspended in the air, as the eddying motion is con- 
tinuous. The needy Nasamonian sees his possessions 
flying in the wind and his dwelling blown to pieces ; 
the Garamantian is laid bare, and his hut, beginning 
with the roof, is snatched away and flies aloft. Fire 
does not carry what it seizes to a greater height : as 
high as smoke may rise up and mar the face of day, 
so great is the dust that fills the air. And now, 
even fiercer than its wont, the wind attacked the 
Roman column ; and the staggering men can find 
no footing on the sand, when even the spot they 
tread on is carried away. If Africa had a solid 
framework, so that the heavy weight of its cliffs 
might confine the South wind within hollow caverns, 
the wind would overset the whole world and wrench 



Sed quia mobilibus facilis turbatur harenis, 

Nusquam luctando stabilis manet, imaqiie tell us 470 

Stat, quia summa fugit. Galeas et scuta virorum 

Pilaque contorsit violento spiritus actu 

Intentusque tulit magni per inania caeli. 

lllud in extrema forsan longeque remota 

Prodigium tellure fuit, delapsaque caelo 475 

Anna timent gentes hominumque erepta lacertis 

A superis demissa putant. Sic ilia profecto 

Sacrifwjo cecidere Numae, quae lecta iuventus 

Patricia cervice movet : spoliaverat Auster 

Aut Boreas populos ancilia nostra ferentes. 480 

Sic orbem torquente Noto Romana iuventus 

Procubuit timuitque rapi ; constrinxit amictus 

Inseruitque manus terrae nee pondere solo 

Sed nisu iacuit, vix sic inmobilis Austro, 

Qui super ingentes cumulos involvit harenae 485 

Atque operit tellure viros. Vix tollere miles 

Membra valet multo congestu pulveris haerens. 

AUigat et stantes adfusae magnus harenae 

Agger, et inmoti terra surgente tenentur. 

Saxa tulit penitus discussis proruta muris 490 

Effuditque procul miranda sorte malorum : 

Qui nuUas videre domos videre ruinas. 

lamque iter omne latet, nee sunt discrimina terrae : 

Sideribus novere viam ; nee sidera tota 495 

Ostendit Libycae finitor circulus orae 

* The Sacred Shields {ancilia) preserved in Rome. 


it from its foundations ; but because the soil is easily 
driven about with its drifting sands, it remains stable 
by offering resistance at no point, and the lower 
stratum stands fast because the u})per is dispersed. 
Driving furiously, the blast snatched up the men's 
helmets and shields and javelins, and rushed on, 
carrying them through the mighty void of heaven. 
Perhaps they were a portent in some remote and 
distant country, and men there fear the armour that 
fell down from heaven, supposing that what was 
torn from the arms of men has been sent down by 
the gods. In this way the shields,^ which chosen 
patricians carry on their shoulders, surely fell before 
Numa as he performed sacrifice: the South wind or 
the North had robbed the bearers of those shields 
which now are ours. When the wind tormented the 
region thus, the Roman soldiers prostrated them- 
selves, fearing to be carried away ; buckling their 
garments tight, they clutched the ground ; effort as 
well as mere weight kept them where they lay ; 
and even so they could scarce resist the storm, which 
rolled huge heaps of sand over them and covered 
their bodies with the soil. Held fast by great 
piles of dust, the men were hardly able to rise from 
the ground. Where they stood, a great rampart of 
sand by their sides kept them prisoners ; and they 
were prevented from moving by the rising surface. 
The wind broke walls to pieces, dislodged the stones 
and carried them far away, and dropped them at a 
distance — a strange mishap, when those who saw no 
houses saw the fragments of them falling. And now 
their path was utterly hidden and all landmarks 
were lost ; they found their way by the stars ; and 
the horizon which bounds the African continent does 



Multaque devexo terrarum margine celat. 
Utque calor solvit, quem torserat aera ventus, 
Incensusque dies, manant sudoribus artus, 
Arent ora siti. Conspecta est parva maligna 500 

Unda procul vena, quara vix e pulvere miles 
Corripiens patulum galeae confudit in orbem 
Porrexitque duci. Squalebant pulvere fauces 
Cunctorum, minimumque tenens dux ipse liquoris 
Invidiosus erat. "Mene" inquit "degener unum 505 
Miles in hac turba vacuum virtute putasti ? 
Usque adeo mollis primisque caloribus inpar 
Sum visus ? quanto poena tu dignior ista es, 
Qui populo sitiente bibas ! " Sic concitus ira 
Excussit galeam, suffecitque omnibus unda. 510 

Ventura erat ad templum, Libycis quod gentibus unum 
Inculti Garamantes habent. Stat sortiger illic 
luppiter, ut memorant, sed non aut fulmina vibrans 
Aut similis nostro, sed tortis cornibus Hammon. 
Non illic Libycae posuerunt ditia gentes 616 

Templa, nee Eois splendent donaria gemmis. 
Quamvis Aethiopum populis Arabumque beatis 
Gentibus atque Indis unus sit luppiter Hammon, 
Pauper adhuc deus est nullis violata per aevum 
Divitiis delubra tenens, morumque priorum 520 

Numen Romano templum defendit ab auro. 
Esse locis superos testatur silva per omnem 

^ I.e. they were content to do without it. 


not display the constellations entire, but many are 
concealed by the curvature of the earth's rim. Then, 
when heat expanded the air which had been con- 
tracted by the gale, and the day grew burning hot, 
sweat poured from their limbs and their mouths 
were parched with thirst. A rivulet with scanty 
flow was sighted at a distance ; and a soldier, snatch- 
ing the water with difficulty from the dust, poured 
it into the hollow of his helmet and offered it to 
the general. Every throat was furred with sand, 
and the general himself, holding in his hands a 
mere drop of water, was an object of envy. "De- 
generate soldier," said he; "did you consider me 
the one man without fortitude in this army? Did 
I seem so effeminate, so unable to endure the first 
onset of heat? How much more you yourself de- 
serve this punishment — that you should drink while 
all around thirst ! " So in wrath he emptied out 
the helmet, and there was water enough for all.^ 

They came to the temple in the land of the savage 
Garamantians — the only temple which the nations 
of Africa possess. Men say that Jupiter has an 
oracular seat there ; but Amnion does not wield the 
thunderbolt, nor is he like our Jupiter, but has 
curving horns. The African nations have built no 
rich temple there ; nor are there treasure-chambers 
glittering with Eastern gems. Though the Ethiopians 
and Indians and wealthy Arabians have no god but 
Jupiter Ammon, yet the god is still poor, and his 
dwelling-place has remained for ages unblemished 
by wealth; and the deity, true to the good old 
fashion, defends his shrine against Roman gold. 
But the presence of gods is attested by trees — the 
only green trees that exist in the whole of Libya. 



Sola virens Libyen. Nam quidquid pulvere sicco 
Separat ardentem tepida Berenicida Lepti, 
Ignorat frondes ; solus nemus abstulit Hammon. 62C 
Silvarum fons causa loco, qui putria terrae 
Alligat et domitas unda conectit harenas. 
Hie quoque nil obstat Piioebo, cum cardine summo 
Stat librata dies ; truncum vix protegit arbor : 
Tam brevis in medium radiis conpellitur umbra. 53( 
Deprensum est hunc esse locum, qua circulus alti 
Solstitii medium signorum percutit orbem. 532 

At tibi, quaecumque es Libyco gens igne dirempta, 53S 
In Noton umbra cadit, quae nobis exit in Arcton. 
Te segnis Cynosura subit, tu sicca profundo 
Mergi Plaustra putas nullumque in vertice semper 
Sidus habes inmune mari ; procul axis uterque est, 
Et fuga signorum medio rapit omnia caelo. 643 

Non obliqua meant, nee Tauro Scorpios exit 633 

Rectior, aut Aries donat sua tempora Librae, 
Aut Astraea iubet lentos descendere Pisces. 
Par Geminis Chiron, et idem, quod Carcinus ardens, 
Umidus Aegoceros, nee plus Leo tollitur Urna. 537 

Stabant ante fores populi, quos miserat Eos, 644 

Cornigerique lovis monitu nova fata petebant ; 
Sed Latio cessere duci, comitesque Catonem 
Orant, exploret Libycum memorata per orbem 

^ For the whole of this passage, see Housraan, pp. 329 fif. j 
the translation given liere is taken from him. 



For all the expanse of dry sand that divides burning 
Berenicis from the lesser heat of Leptis knows 
nothing of leaves; for Amnion has taken all the 
trees for himself. These trees owe their origin to 
a local spring, which binds the powdery soil together, 
mastering and cementing the sand by its waters. 
But even here the sun finds no hindrance, when the 
orb of day stands poised in the zenith : the trees can 
scarce shelter tlieir own trunks — so small is the com- 
pass of the shadow thrown by his rays. It has been 
ascertained that this is the spot where the circle of 
the upper solstice strikes the Zodiac, equidistant 
from the poles. But the shadow of people (if such 
there be) who are separated from us by the heats of 
Libya falls to the South, whereas ours falls north- 
wards. The slow-moving Little Bear rises up into 
their view ; and they suppose that the unwetted 
Wain sinks in the sea, and they have no star over- 
head which never touches ocean ; either pole is 
equally distant from them ; and the flying Zodiac 
sweeps on all its constellations through the centre 
of the sky. These do not move obliquely : Scorpius, 
when emerging from the horizon, is no nearer the 
perpendicular than Taurus ; nor does Aries make 
over any of his rising- time to Libra ; nor does Virgo 
cause Pisces to set slowly. Sagittarius mounts as 
high as Gemini, and rainy Capricorn as high as 
burning Cancer; and Leo mounts no higher than 

Before the doors of the temple stood messengers 
from the East, seeking to learn the future by the 
warning of horned Jupiter. But these gave place to 
the Roman general ; and his officers begged Cato to 
test the deity so famous through all the land of 



Numina, de fama tam longi iudicet aevi. 

Maximus hortator scrutandi voce deorum 

Eventus Labienus erat. " Sors obtulit " inquit 550 

" Et fortuna viae tam magiii numinis ora 

Consiliumque dei ; tanto duce possumus uti 

Per Syrtes, bellisque datos cognoscere casus. 

Nam cui crediderim superos arcana daturos 

Dicturosque magis quam sancto vera Catoni ? 555 

Certe vita tibi semper derecta supernas 

Ad leges, sequerisque deum. Datur ecce loquendi 

Cum^ love libertas : inquire in fata nefandi 

Caesaris et patriae venturos excute mores : 

lure suo populis uti legumque licebit, 560 

An bellum civile perit? Tua pectora sacra 

Voce reple ; durae saltem virtu tis amator 

Quaere, quid est virtus, et posce exemplar honesti.*' 

Hie deo plenus, tacita quem mente gerebat, 
Effudit dignas adytis e pectore voces : 565 

" Quid quaeri, Labiene, iubes ? an liber in armis 
Occubuisse velim potius quam regna videre ? 
An, sit vita brevis, nil, longane, differat, aetas ? ^ 
An noceat vis nulla bono fortunaque perdat 
Opposita virtute minas, laudandaque velle 570 

Sit satis et numquam successu crescat honestum ? 
Scimus, et hoc nobis non altius inseret Hammon. 
Haeremus cuncti superis, temploque tacente 

^ Madvig's emendation of An sit vita nihil sed longa an differat 
aetas. The construction is : an nil differat (utrum) vita sit brevis 
longane aetas. 


Libya, and to pass sentence on a reputation of such 
long standing. Labienus especially urged him to 
use the voice divine in order to pry into the future. 
"Chance," said he, ''and the hazard of our march 
have put in our way the word of this mighty god 
and his divine wisdom; his powerful guidance we 
can enjoy through the Syrtes, and from him discover 
the issues appointed for the war. I cannot believe 
that Heaven would reveal mysteries and proclaim 
truth to any man more than to the pure and holy 
Cato. Assuredly you have ever ruled your life in 
accordance with divine law, and you are a follower 
after God. And now behold ! power is given you 
to speak with Jupiter; ask then concerning the end 
of Caesar the abhorred, and search into the future 
condition of our country : will the people be allowed 
to enjoy their laws and liberties, or has the civil war 
been fought in vain ? Fill your breast with the god's 
utterance ; a lover of austere virtue, you should at 
least ask now what Virtue is and demand to see 
Goodness in her visible shape." 

Cato, inspired by the god whom he bore hidden 
in his heart, poured forth from his breast an answer 
worthy of the oracle itself : " What question do you 
bid me ask, Labienus ? Whether I would rather fall 
in battle, a free man, than witness a tyranny ? 
W^hether it makes no difference if life be long or 
short? Whether violence can ever hurt the good, 
or Fortune threatens in vain when Virtue is her 
antagonist ? Whether the noble purpose is enough, 
and virtue becomes no more virtuous by success } I 
can answer these questions, and the oracle will never 
fix the truth deeper in my heart. We men are all 
inseparable from the gods, and, even if the oracle 



Nil facimus non sponte dei ; nee voeibus ullis 

Numen eget, dixitque semel nascentibus auctor, 576 

Quidquid seire licet. Sterilesne elegit harenas, 

CJt caneret paucis, mersitque hoc pulvere verum, 

Estque dei sedes, nisi terra et pontus et aer 

Et caelum et virtus? superos quid quaerimus ultra? 

luppiter est, quodcumque vides,quodcumque moveris. 580 

Sortilegis egeant dubii semperque futuris 

Casibus ancipites : me non oracula certum, 

Sed mors certa facit. Pavido fortique cadendum est : 

Hoc satis est dixisse lovem." Sic ille profatus 

Servataque fide templi discedit ab aris 685 

Non exploratum populis Hammona relinquens. 

Ipse manu sua pila gerit, praecedit anheli 
Militis ora pedes, monstrat tolerare labores, 
Non iubet, et nulla vehitur cervice supinus 
Carpentoque sedens ; somni parcissimus ipse est ; 590 
Ultimus haustor aquae, quam, tandem fonte reperto, 
Indiga cogatur laticis spectare^ iuventus, 
Stat, dum lixa bibat. Si veris magna paratur 
Fama bonis et si successu nuda remoto 
Inspicitur virtus, quidquid laudamus in ullo 695 

Maiorum, fortuna fuit. Quis Marte secundo, 
Quis tantum meruit populorura sanguine nonien ? 
Hunc ego per Syrtes Libyaeque extrema triumphum 
Ducere maluerim, quam ter Capitolia curru 

* spectare ffousman : certare, poLare, MSS. 

* Drinking one by one, 


be dumb, all our actions are predetermined by 
Heaven. The gods have no need to speak ; for the 
Creator told us once for all at our birth whatever we 
are permitted to know. Did he choose tliese barren 
sands, that a few might hear his voice? did he bury 
truth in this desert? Has he any dwelling-place 
save earth and sea, the air of heaven and virtuous 
hearts? Why seek we furtlier for deities? All 
that we see is God ; every motion we make is God 
also. Men who doubt and are ever uncertain of 
future events — let them cry out for prophets : I draw 
my assurance from no oracle but from the sureness 
of death. The timid and the brave must fall alike ; 
the god has said this, and it is enough." With these 
words he departed from the altar, preserving the 
credit of the temple, and left Ammon, untested by 
him, lor the nations to worship. 

Carrying his javelin in his own hand, he marched 
on foot in front of his gasping soldiers ; issuing no 
order, he taught them by his example to endure 
hardsliip ; he was never borne at ease on the 
shoulders of men or seated in a carriage ; of sleep 
he was more sparing than any. When at last a 
spring was discovered, and the thirsty men must 
be forced to look on at it,^ he was the last to drink 
and stood still till the camp-followers drank. — If 
great renown is won by true merit, and if virtue 
is considered in itself and apart from success, then 
all that we praise in any of our ancestors was 
Fortune's gift. Who ever gained so great a name 
by winning battles and shedding the blood of 
nations ? I would choose to lead this triumphant 
march through the Syrtes and the remotest parts 
of Libya rather than ascend the Capitol thrice over 



Scandere Pompci, quam frangere coUa lugurthae. 600 

Ecce parens verus patriae, dignissimus aris, 

Roma, tuis, per quern numquam iurare pudebit, 

Et quem, si steteris umquam cervice soluta, 

Nunc, olim, factura deum es. lam spissior ignis, 

Et plaga, quam nullam superi mortalibus ultra 605 

A medio fecere die, calcatur, et unda 

Rarior. Inventus mediis fons unus harenis 

Largus aquae, sed quern serpentum turba tenehat 

Vix capiente loco. Stabant in margine siccae 

Aspides, in mediis sitiebant dipsades undis. 610 

Ductor, ut aspexit perituros fonte relicto, 

Adloquitur : " Vana specie conterrite leti, 

Ne dubita, miles, tutos haurire liquores. 

Noxia serpentum est admixto sanguine pestis ; 

Morsu virus habent, et fatum dente minantur, 615 

Pocula morte carent." Dixit dubiumque venenum i 

Hausit ; et in tota Libyae fons unus harena I 

lUe fuit, de quo primus sibi posceret undam. 

Cur Libycus tantis exundet pestibns aer 
Fertilis in mortes, aut quid secreta nocenti 620 

Miscuerit natura solo, non cura laborque 
Noster scire valet, nisi quod volgata per orbem 
Fabula pro vera decepit saecula causa. 
Finibus extremis Libyes, ubi fervida tellus 
Accipit Oceanum demisso sole calentem, 625 

Squalebant late Phorcynidos arva Medusae, 

^ Jugurtha was strangled in prison after Pompey's first 


in Pompey's car, or break Jugurtha's neck.'^ Be- 
hold tlie true father of his country, a man most 
worthy to be worshipped by Romans ; to swear by 
his name will never make men blush ; and if they 
ever, now or later, free their necks from the yoke 
and stand upright, they will make a god of Cato. — 
Now the heat grew more intense ; they trod that 
region that forms the southern limit ordained for 
man's habitation, and water grew scarcer. Right in 
the desert a single spring was discovered, and its 
waters were copious, but a host of serpents beset 
it, almost more than the ground could contain : 
parched asps had their station on its brink, and 
thirsty dipsades filled the pool itself. When Cato 
saw that the men would die if they shunned the 
spring, he thus spoke to them : " Soldiers, the 
appearance of death that terrifies you is delusive ; 
do not hesitate to swallow the harmless water. The 
poison of snakes is only deadly when mixed with 
the blood ; their venom is in their bite, and they 
threaten death with their fangs. There is no 
death in the cup." He spoke and drank down the 
dreaded poison ; and in all the Libyan desert this 
was the only spring where he asked to taste the 
water first. 

Why the clime of Libya abounds in such plagues 
and teems with death, or what bane mysterious 
Nature has mingled with her soil — this no study 
and pains of ours avail to discover ; but a world- 
wide legend has taken the place of the true cause 
and deceived mankind. In the furthest parts of 
Libya, where the hot earth admits the Ocean heated 
by the sun when he sets, lay the broad untilled 
realm of Medusa, daughter of Phorcys — a realm not 



Non neraorum protecta coma, non mollia sulco, 

Sed dominae voltu conspectis aspera saxis. 

Hoc primum riatura nocens in corpore saevas 

Eduxit pestes ; illis e faucibus angues 630 

Stridula fuderunt vibratis sibila Unguis. 

Ipsa flagellabant gaudentis coUa Medusae, 633 

Femineae cui more comae per terga solutae 632 

Surgunt adversa subrectae fronte colubrae, 634 

Vipereumque fluit depexo crine venenum. 

Hoc habet infelix, cunctis inpune, Medusa, 

Quod spectare licet. Nam rictus oraque raonstri 

Quis timuit ? quem, qui recto se lumine vidit, 

Passa Medusa mori est? rapuit dubitantia fata 

Praevenitque metus ; anima periere retenta G40 

Membra, nee emissae riguere sub ossibus umbrae. 

Eumenidum crines solos movere furores, 

Cerberos Orpheo lenivit sibila cantu, 

Amphitryoniades vidit, cum vinceret, hydram : 

Hoc monstrum timuit genitor numenque secundum 645 

Phorcys aquis Cetoque parens ipsaeque sorores 

Gorgones ; hoc potuit caelo pelagoque minari 

Torporem insolitum mundoque obducere terram. 

E caelo volucres subito cum pondere lapsae. 

In scopulis haesere ferae, vicina colentes 650 

Aethiopum totae riguerunt marmore gentes. 

Nullum animal visus patiens, ipsique retrorsus 

Effusi faciem vitabant Gorgonos angues. 

Ilia sub Hesperiis stantem Titana columnis 

^ And thus turned into stone. 
* Second to Poseidon (Neptune). 



shaded by the foliage of trees nor softened by the 
plough, but rugged with stones which the eyes 
of their mistress had beheld.^ In her body malig- 
nant Nature first bred these cruel plagues ; from 
her throat were born the snakes that poured forth 
<< shrill hissings with their forked tongues. It pleased 
Medusa, when snakes dangled close against her 
neck ; in the way that women dress their hair, the 
vipers hang loose over her back but rear erect over 
her brow in front ; and their poison wells out when 
the tresses are combed. These snakes are the only 
part of ill-fated Medusa that all men may look upon 
and live. For who ever felt fear of the monster's 
face and open mouth ? Who that looked her 
straight in the face was suffered by Medusa to die ? 
wShe hurried on the hesitating stroke of doom and 
anticipated all fear ; the limbs were destroyed while 
the breath remained ; and the spirit, before it went 
foith, grew stiff beneath the bones. The tresses 
of the Eumenides raised madness only, Cerberus 
lowered his hissing when Orpheus played, and 
Amphitryon's son looked on the hydra when he 
was conquering it ; but this monster was dreaded 
by Phorcys, her own father and second ^ ruler of 
the sea, by her mother, Ceto, and even by her sister 
Gorgons ; she had power to threaten sky and sea 
with strange paralysis, and clothe the world with 
stone. Birds grew heavy suddenly and fell down 
from the sky ; beasts remained motionless on their 
rocks ; and whole tribes of the neighbouring 
Ethiopians were turned to statues. No living 
creature could endure to look on her, and even her 
serpents bent backward to escape her face. She 
turned to stone Atlas, the Titan who supports the 



In cautes Atlanta dedit ; caeloque timente 665 

Olim Phlegraeo stantes serpente gigantas 

Erexit montes, bellumque inmane deorum 

Pallados e medio confecit pectore Gorgon. 

Quo postquam partu Danaes et divite nimbo 

Ortum Parrhasiae vexerunt Persea pinnae 660 

Arcados auctoris citharae liquidaeque palaestrae, 

Et subitus praepes Cjllenida sustulit harpen, 

Harpen alterius monstri iam caede rubentem, 

A love dilectae fuso custode iuvencae, 

Auxilium volucri Pallas tulit innuba fratri, 665 

Pacta caput monstri^ terraeque in fine Libyssae 

Persea Phoebeos converti iussit ad ortus 

Gorgonos averso sulcantem regna volatu, 

Et clipeum laevae fulvo dedit aere nitentem, 

In quo saxificam iussit spectare Medusam. 670 

Quam sopor aeternam tracturus morte quietem 

Obruit baud totam : vigilat pars magna comarum, 

Defenduntque caput protenti crinibus hydri ; 

Pars iacet in medios voltus oculisque tenebras 

Offundit clausis et somni diiplicat umbras}- 

Ipsa regit trepidum Pallas dextraque trementera 675 

Perseos aversi Cyllenida derigit harpen, 

Lata colubriferi rumpens confinia colli. 

Quos habuit voltus hamati volnere ferri 

Caesa caput Gorgon ! quanto spirare veneno 

* Inserted by Eousman. 

1 Pallas bore the Gorgon's head on the centre of the aegis, 
her shield. 

2 Hermes (Mercury) : he was born on Mount Cyllene in 

* Argus was the guardian of To. 



Pillars of the West ; and when the gods in time 
past dreaded the serpent-legged Giants at Phlegra, 
she changed the rebels into high mountains, till that 
awful battle of the gods was won by the Gorgon 
on the centre of the breast of Pallas.^ To this land 
came Perseus, sprung of Danae's womb and the 
shower of gold ; he was borne aloft on the Parr- 
hasian wings of that Arcadian god ^ who invented 
the lyre and the wrestler's oil. And when, as he 
flew, he suddenly lifted the scimitar of the Cyllenian 
— a scimitar red with the blood of another monster ; 
for he had already laid low the guardian of the 
heifer loved by Jupiter ^ — the maiden Pallas brought 
aid to her winged brother. She bargained to have 
the monster's head, and then bade Perseus when 
he reached the border of the Libyan land, to turn 
towards the rising sun and fly backwards through 
the Gorgon's realm; and she put in his left hand 
a glittering shield of tawny bronze, in which she 
told him to view Medusa that turned all things to 
stone. Medusa slept; but the slumber that was to 
bring upon her the unending rest of death did not 
overcome her wholly : much of her hair kept watch, 
and the snakes leaned forward from the tresses to 
protect the head, while the rest of the hair fell 
right over the face, covering the closed eyes with 
darkness and doubling the veil of sleep. Pallas 
herself directed Perseus in his haste ; her right 
hand guided the shaking scimitar of the Cyllenian 
which he held with his face averted ; and thus she 
clove the place where the great snaky neck joined 
the body. How looked the Gorgon then, when her 
head was severed by the stroke of the curving blade ! 
What fell poison must I suppose was breathed forth 



Ora rear, quantumque oculos efFundere mortis ! 680 

Nee Pallas spectare potest, voltusque gelassent 

Perseos aversi, si non Tritonia densos 

Sparsisset crines texissetque ora colubris, 

Aliger in caelum sic rapta Gorgone fugit. 

Ille quidem pensabat iter propiusque secabat 686 

Aera, si medias Europae scinderet urbes : 

Pallas frugiferas iussit non laedere terras 

Et parci populis. Quis enim non praepete tanto 

Aethera respiceret ? Zephyro convertitur ales 

Itque super Libyen, quae nuUo consita cultu 690 

Sideribus Phoeboque vacat ; premit orbita solis 

Exuritque solum, nee terra celsior ulla 

Nox cadit in caelum lunaeque meatibus obstat. 

Si flexus oblita vagi per recta cucurrit 

Siij^na nee in Borean aut in Noton eflTugit umbram. 695 

Ilia tamen sterilis tellus fecundaque nulli 

Arva bono virus stillantis tabe Medusae 

Concipiunt dirosque fero de sanguine rores, 

Quos calor adiuvit putrique incoxit harenae. 

Hie quae prima caput movit de pulvere tabes 700 

Aspida somniferam tumida cervice levavit. 
Plenior buc sanguis et crassi gutta veneni 
Decidit ; in nulla plus est serpente coactum. 
Ipsa caloris egens gelidum non transit in orbem 
Sponte sua Niloque tenus metitur harenas. 705 

Sed — quis erit nobis lucri pudor ? — inde petuntur 

1 Pallas. 

* The sun is directly overhead in equatorial regions by day, 
the earth's conical shadow directly overhead at night, and 
therefore higher than over other places. 



by her mouth, and how deadly the discharge from 
her eyes! Even Pallas could not look upon her; 
and the eyes would have frozen the face of Perseus, 
though his back was turned, had not Tritonia^ 
ruffled the thick hair and used the snakes to veil 
the face. Thus he seized the Gorgon's head and 
flew upwards in safety. He thought to shorten his 
way and lessen his flight through the air by flying 
directly above the cities of Europe ; but Pallas bade 
him spare the nations and do no hurt to the corn- 
bearing lands. For who would not look up into the 
sky, when so mighty a thini^ flew past ? The hero 
turned his flight with the West wind and passed 
above Libya, a land entirely uncultivated and fully 
exposed to sky and sun ; the sun's path is directly 
above it and burns up the soil ; in no land does the 
shadow of the earth rise higher in the sky '^ and 
obstruct the moon's course, if the moon, forgetting 
her slanting orbit, has moved straight along the 
Zodiac, without passing to north or south of the 
shadow. Though that land is barren and those 
fields give increase to no good seed, yet they drank 
in poison from the gore of the dripping Medusa 
head — drank in from that savage blood a ghastly 
dew, which was made more potent by the heat and 
burnt into the crumbling sand. 

In this land the blood, when it first stirred a head 
above the sand, sent up the asp whose swollen neck 
puts men to sleep ; in no snake is more poison con- 
densed ; for more blood and a drop of clotted 
venom fell down here. Needing heat, the asp 
never of its own accord passes into cold regions, 
but traverses the desert as far as the Nile and no 
further. But we -shall we never be ashamed of 



Hue Libycae mortes, et fecimus aspida mercem. 
At non stare suum miseris passura cruorem 
Squamiferos ingens haemorrhois explicat orbes^ 
Natus et ambiguae coleret qui Syrtidos arva 710 

Chersydros, tractique via fumante chelydri, 
Et semper recto lapsurus limite cenchris : 
Pluribus ille notis variatam tinguitur alvum 
Quam parvis pictus maculis Thebanus ophites. 
Concolor exustis atque indiscretus harenis 715 

Hammodytes, spinaque vagi torquente cerastae, 
Et scytale sparsis etiamnunc sola pruinis 
Exuvias positura suas, et torrida dipsas, 
Et gravis in geminum vergens caput amphisbaena, 
Et natrix violator aquae, iaculique volucres, 720 

Et contentus iter cauda sulcare parias, 
Oraque distendens avidus spumantia prester, 
Ossaque dissolvens cura corpore tabificus seps ; 
Sibilaque efFundens cunctas terrentia pestes. 
Ante venena nocens, late sibi sumraovet omne 725 

Volgus et in vacua regnat basiliscus harena. 
Vos quoque, qui cunctis innoxia numina terris 
Serpitis, aurato nitidi fulgore dracones, 
Letiferos ardens facit Africa : ducitis altuin 
Aera cura pinnis, armentaque tota secuti 730 

Rumpitis ingentes amplexi verbere tauros ; 
Nee tutus spatio est elephans : datis omnia leto. 
Nee vobis opus est ad noxia fata veneno. 
Has inter pestes duro Cato milite siccum 

^ Presumably for poison. 
^ A kind of marble. 



gain ? — ^import the bane of Africa to Italy and have 
made the asp an article of commerce.^ And there 
the huge haemorrhois, which will not suffer the blood 
of its victim to stay in the veins, opens out its scaly 
coils ; there is the chersydros, created to inhabit the 
Syrtis, half land and half sea ; the chelydrus, whose 
track smokes as it glides along ; the cenchris, which 
moves ever in a straight line — its belly is more 
thickly chequered and spotted than the Theban 
serpentine ^ with its minute patterns ; the ammodyteSy 
of the same colour as the scorched sand and indistin- 
guishable from it ; the cerastes^ which wanders about 
as its spine makes it turn ; the scytale, which alone can 
shed its skin while the rime is still scattered over 
the ground ; the dried-up dipsas ; the fell amphis- 
baena, that moves towards each of its two heads; 
the natrix, which pollutes waters, and the iaculus, 
that can fly ; the parias, that is content to plough 
a track with its tail ; the greedy prester, that opens 
wide its foaming mouth ; the deadly seps, that 
destroys the bones with the body ; and there the 
basilisk terrifies all the other snakes by the hissing 
it sends forth, and kills before it bites ; it compels 
all the inferior serpents to keep their distance, 
and lords it over the empty desert. Dragons also, 
glittering with the sheen of gold, though worshipped 
in all other countries as harmless and divine, are 
made deadly by the heat of Africa : they draw 
in the air of heaven, birds and all ; pursuing 
whole herds, they coil round mighty bulls and 
slay them with blows from their tail ; nor is the 
elephant saved by his bulk — all things they consign 
to destruction, and need no poison to inflict death. 
Amidst these plagues Cato travels on his water- 



Emetitur iter, tot tristia fata suorum 736 

Insolitasque videns parvo cum volnere mortes. 

Signiferum iuvenem Tyrrheni sanguinis Aulum 

Torta caput retro dipsas calcata momordit. 

Vix dolor aut sensus dentis fuit, ipsaque leti 

Frons caret invidia, nee quidquam plaga minatur. 740 

Ecce subit virus taciturn, carpitque medullas 

Ignis edax calidaque incendit viscera tabe. 

Ebibit umorem circum vitalia fusum 

Pestis et in sicco linguam torrere palate 

Coepit ; defessos iret qui sudor in artus, 746 

Non fuit, atque oculos lacrimarum vena refugit. 

Non decus imperii, non maesti iura Catonis 

Ardentem tenuere virum, ne spargere signa 

Auderet totisque furens exquireret arvis 

Quas poscebat aquas sitiens in corde venenum. 760 

Ille vel in Tanain missus Rhodanumque Padumque 

Arderet Nilumque bibens per rura vagantem. 

Accessit morti Li bye, fatique minorem 

Famam dipsas habet terris adiuta perustis. 

Scrutatur venas penitus squalentis harenae ; 766 

Nunc redit ad Syrtes et fluctus accipit ore, 

Aequoreusque placet, sed non et sufficit, umor. 

Nee sentit fatique genus mortemque veneni, 

Sed putat esse sitim ; ferroque aperire tumentes 

Sustinuit venas atque os inplere cruore. 76u 

lussit signa rapi propere Cato : discere nulli 


less way with his hardy soldiers, witnessing the 
cruel fate of man after man, and strange forms of 
death accompanied by a trifling wound. So Aulus, 
a standard-bearer of Etruscan blood, trod on a dipsas, 
and it drew back its head and bit him. He had 
hardly any pain or feeling of tlie bite ; the mere 
appearance of the deadly wound was innocent, nor 
did the injury threaten any consequences. But lo ! 
the hidden venom rises ; devouring flame catches 
hold of the marrow and kindles the inmost parts 
with destroying fire. The poison dried up the 
moisture that surrounds the vital organs, and began 
to consume the tongue in the parched mouth ; no 
sweat was left to run down over the suffering limbs, 
and the flow of tears deserted the eyes. The man 
was on fire ; and neither national pride nor the 
authority of grief-stricken Cato could stop him : 
boldly he threw down the standard and searched 
everywhere in his frenzy for the water which the 
thirsty j)oison at his heart demanded. If he were 
plunged into the Tanais, the Rhone, or the Po, he 
would go on burning, or if he drank of the Nile 
when it floods the fields. But Libya made death 
more deadly ; and the dipsas, when aided by the 
heat of that country, deserves less fame for its 
powers of destruction. Aulus searches for water 
deep down in the barren sand, and then returns to 
the Syrtes, and swallows the brine ; the sea-water 
gives him pleasure, but there is not enough of it. 
The nature of his suffering and his death by poison 
were unperceived by him : he thought it was merely 
thirst, and ventured to open his swollen veins with 
his sword, and fill his mouth with the blood. 

Cato ordered the army to march away in haste : 


VOL. I. T 


Permissum est hoc posse sitim. Sed tristior illo 

Mors erat ante oculos, miserique in crure Sabelli 

Seps stetit exiguus ; quem flexo dente tenacem 

Avolsitque manu piloque adfixit harenis. 765 

Parva modo serpens sed qua non ulla cruentae 

Tantum mortis habet. Nam plagae proxima circum 

Fugit rupta cutis pallentiaque ossa retexit ; 

lamque sinu laxo nudum sine corpore volnus. 

Membra natant sanie, surae fluxere, sine ullo 770 

Tegmine poples erat, femorum quoque musculus omnis 

Liquitur, et nigra destillant inguina tabe. 

Dissiluit stringens uterum membrana, fluuntque 

Viscera ; nec^ quantus toto de corpore debet, 

Effluit in terras, saevum sed membra venenum 775 

Decoquit, in minimum mors contrahit omnia virus. 

Quidquid homo est, aperit pestis natura profana : 779 

Vincula nervorum et laterum textura cavumque 777 

Pectus et abstrusum fibris vitalibus omne 

Morte patet. Manant umeri fortesque lacerti, 780 

CoUa caputque fluunt: calido non ocius Austro 

Nix resoluta cadit nee solem cera sequetur. 

Parva loquor, corpus sanie stillasse perustum : 

Hoc et flamma potest ; sed quis rogus abstulit ossa ? 

Haec quoque discedunt, putresque secuta medullas 785 

Nulla manere sinunt rapid! vestigia fati. 



none was allowed to learn that thirst could go so 
far. But a death more dreadful than that of Aulus 
was full in their view. When a tiny seps stuck in 
the leg of hapless Sabellus and clung there with 
barbed fang, he tore it off and pinned it to the sand 
with his javelin. Though this reptile is small in 
size, no other possesses such deadly powers. For 
the skin nearest the wound broke and shrank all 
round, revealing the white bone, until, as the 
opening widened, there was one gaping wound and 
no body. The limbs are soaked with corrupted 
blood ; the calves of the legs melted away, the knees 
were stripped of covering, all the muscles of the 
thighs rotted, and a black discharge issued from 
the groin. The membrane that confines the belly 
snapped asunder, and the bowels gushed out. The 
man trickles into the ground, but there is less of 
him than an entire body should supply ; for the fell 
poison boils down the limbs, and tJhe manner of 
death reduces the whole man to a little pool of cor- 
ruption. The whole human frame is revealed by 
the horrible nature of the mischief : the ligaments 
of the sinews, the structure of the lungs, the cavity 
of the chest, and all that the vital organs conceal, — 
every part is laid bare by death. The shoulders 
and strong arms turn to water ; the neck and head 
are liquefied ; snow does not melt and vanish more 
quickly before the warm South wind, nor will wax 
be affected faster by the sun. It is little to say that 
the flesh was consumed and dripped away in the 
form of matter : fire also can do this, but no pyre 
ever made the bones disappear. They also vanish : 
following the corrupted marrow, they suffer no 
traces of the quick death to survive. Among the 



Cinypbias inter pestes tibi palma nocendi est : 
Eripiunt omnes animam, tu sola cadaver. 

Ecce subit facies leto di versa fluenti. 
Nasidium Marsi eultorem torridus agri 790 

Percussit prester. lUi rubor igneus ora 
Succendit, tenditque cutem pereunte figura 
Miscens cuncta tumor ; toto iam corpore maior 
Humanumque egressa modum super omnia membra 
Efflatur sanies late pollente veneno; 795 

Ipse latet penitus congesto corpore mersus. 
Nee lorica tenet distenti pectoris ^ auctum. 
Spumeus accenso non sic exundat aeno 
Undarum cumulus^ nee tantos carbasa Core 
Curvavere sinus. Tumidos iam non capit artus 800 

Informis globus et confuso pondere truncus. 
Intactum volucrum rostris epulasque daturum 
Haud inpune feris non ausi tradere busto 
Nondum stante modo crescens fugere cadaver. 

Sed maiora parant Libycae spectacula pestes. 805 

Inpressit dentes haemorrhois aspera Tullo, 
Magnanimo iuveni miratorique Catonis. 
Utque solet pariter totis se fundere signis 
Corycii pressura croci^ sic omnia membra 
Emisere simul rutilum pro sanguine virus. 810 

Sanguis erant lacrimae ; quaecumque foramina novit 
Umor, ab his largus manat cruor ; ora redundant 
Et patulae nares ; sudor rubet ; omnia plenis 
Membra fluunt venis ; totum est pro volnere corpus. 

1 pectoris Bentley : corporis M8S. 

^ Saffron -water was used by the "Romans to perfume their 
theatres ; and it appears from this passage that it was forced 
out of perforations in metal statues. 


plagues of Africa the seps bears off the palm for 
destruction : all the rest take life, but it alone 
carries off the dead body. 

But lo ! a form of death is seen, the opposite to death 
by liquefaction. Nasidius, once a tiller of Marsian 
soil, was smitten by a burning prester. His face 
grew fiery red, and swelling distended the skin till 
all shape was lost and all features were confounded ; 
then, as the strong poison spread, the hurt, larger 
than the whole body or than any human body, was 
blown out over all the limbs ; the man himself was 
buried deep within his bloated frame, nor could his 
breast-plate contain the growth of his swollen chest. 
The foaming cloud of steam pours forth less strongly 
from a heated caldron ; and smaller are the curves 
of bellying sails in a tempest. The distended limbs 
can no longer be contained by the body — a round 
and featureless mass with no distinct parts. The 
body remained untouched by the beaks of birds, and 
menaced death to wild beasts that feasted on it ; the 
soldiers dared not consign it to a pyre, but fled from 
it, leaving it still swelling, with a growth not yet 

But even greater marvels were shown by the 
serpents of Africa. Tullus, a courageous youth who 
worshipped Cato, was bitten by a fierce haemorrhois. 
And as Corycian saffron, when turned on, is wont to 
spout from every part of a statue at once,^ so all his 
limbs discharged red poison together instead of blood. 
His tears were blood ; blood flowed abundantly from 
all the openings that the body's moisture uses ; his 
mouth and open nostrils were filled with it ; he 
sweated blood ; all his limbs streamed with the con- 
tents of his veins ; his whole body was one wound. 



At tibij Laeve miser, fixus praecordia pressit 816 

Niliaca serpente cruor, nuUoque dolore 
Testatus morsus subita caligine mortem 
Accipis et socias somno descendis ad umbras. 
Non tam veloci corrumpunt pocula leto, 
Stipite quae diro virgas mentita Sabaeas 820 

Toxica fatilegi carpunt matura Saitae. 

Ecce procul saevus sterilis se robore trunci 
Torsit et inmisit — iaculum vocat Africa — serpens 
Perque caput Pauli transactaque tempora fugit. 
Nil ibi virus agit : rapuit cum volnere fatum. 825 

Deprensum est, quae funda rotat quam lenta volarent, 
Quam segnis Scythicae strideret harundinis aer. 

Quid prodest miseri basiliscus cuspide Murri 
Transactus ? velox currit per tela venenum 
Invaditque manum ; quam protinus ille retecto 830 

Ense ferit totoque semel demittit ab armo, 
Exemplarque sui spectans miserabile leti 
Stat tutus pereunte manu. Quis fata putarit ^ 
Scorpion aut vires maturae mortis habere ? 
Ille minax nodis et recto verbere saevus 835 

Teste tulit caelo victi decus Orionis. 
Quis calcare tuas metuat, salpuga, latebras ? 
Et tibi dant Stygiae ius in sua fila sorores. 

Sic nee clara dies nee nox dabat atra quietem, 
Suspecta miseris in qua tellure iacebant. 840 

Nam neque congestae struxere cubilia frondes, 

^ putarit Bentley : putavit M8S. 

^ I.e., Parthian. 

' By the constellation called Scorpio. According to one 
account, Orion was killed by a Bcorpion sent by Artemis. 
' Said to be a kind of venomous ant. 
* The Parcae or Fates. 



Next, a serpent of the Nile froze the blood of 
hapless Laevus and stopped his heart. By no pain 
did he confess the wound, but suffered death by 
sudden unconsciousness, and went down by the way 
of sleep to join the ghosts of his comrades. The 
ripened poisons plucked by the wizards of Sais — 
poisons whose deadly stalks resemble the twigs of 
Arabia — do not infect the cup with so swift a death. 

Behold ! a fierce serpent, called by Africa iaculus, 
aimed and hurled itself at Paulus from a barren tree 
far off; piercing the head and passing through the 
temples, it escaped. Poison played no part there : 
death simultaneous with the wound snatched him 
away. Men discovered then how slow was the 
flight of the bullet from the sling, and how sluggish 
the whizz of the Scythian ^ arrow through the air. 

Ill-starred Murrus drove his spear through a 
basilisk, but that availed him nothing : the poison 
sped swiftly along the weapon and fastened on his 
hand. At once he bared his sword and cut it off 
with one stroke, right from the shoulder ; and there 
he stood safe while his hand was destroyed, watching 
the semblance of the pitiful death that would have 
been his own. Who could suppose that the scorpion 
was fatal, or large enough to inflict speedy death? 
Yet heaven bears witness'^ that the scorpion, threaten- 
ing with its knotted tail and fierce with its sting 
erect, won the glory of defeating Orion. Who 
would fear to tread on the lair of the salpuga ? ^ Yet 
even to it the Stygian sisters * gave power over their 

So neither bright day nor black night brought 
rest to the wretched men : they could not trust the 
ground they lay on. For no piled-up leaves reared 



Nee eulmis erevere tori, sed corpora fatis 

Expositi volvuntur humo, calidoque vapore 

Adliciunt gelidas nocturno frigore pestes, 

Innocuosque diu rictus torpente veneno 845 

Inter membra fovent. Nee, quae mensura viarum 

Qiiisve modus, norunt caelo duce : saej)e querentes 

" Reddite, di," clamant " miseris quae fugimus arma, 

Reddite Thessaliam. Patimur cur segnia fata 

In gladios iurata manus ? pro Caesare pugnant 860 

Dipsades et peragunt civilia bella cerastae. 

Ire libet, qua zona rubens atque axis inustus 

Solis equis, iuvat aetheriis aseribere causis, 

Quod peream, caeloque mori. Nil, Africa, de te 

Nee de te, natura, queror : tot monstra ferentem 865 

Gentibus ablatum dederas serpentibus orbem, 

Inpatiensque solum Cereris cultore negato 

Damnasti atque homines voluisti desse venenis. 

In loca serpentum nos venimus : accipe poenas 

Tu, quisquis superum commercia nostra perosus 860 

Hinc torrente plaga, dubiis hinc Syrtibus orbem 

Abrumpens medio posuisti limite mortes. 

Per secreta tui bellum civile recessus 

Vadit, et arcani miles tibi conscius orbis 

Claustra ferit mundi. Forsan maiora supersunt 866 

Ingressis : coeunt ignes stridentibus undis, 

Et premitur natura poll ; sed longius istac ^ 

Nulla iacet tellus, quam fama cognita nobis 

* istac Rousman : ista MSS. 

1 Where the sun sets in the ocean. 


up beds for them, nor was straw heaped beneath 
them : leaving then* bodies exposed to death, they 
lie down upon the ground, and their warmth attracts 
the snakes that suffer from the cold at night ; and 
for long they warm with their limbs the open 
mouths that are harmless while the poison is 
numbed. With only the stars to guide them, they 
know not in what direction they have marched, or 
how far ; and often they cry aloud this complaint : 
*' Ye gods, restore to us wretches the battle from 
whicli we fled : give us back Pliarsalia. We swore 
to use the sword : why then do we suffer a coward's 
death ? The vipers fight in Caesar's place, and the 
adders win the civil war. Fain would we go to the 
torrid zone, where the ecliptic is burnt by the sun's 
steeds ; we had rather impute our death to the sky's 
agency and be killed by heaven. I do not blame 
Africa, nor Nature : Nature had taken from men and 
assigned to serpents a region so fertile of monsters : 
the soil would bear no corn, and she condemned it to 
lie untilled ; she intended that the poisonous fangs 
should find no men to bite. We are trespassers in a 
land of serpents: let us pay the penalty to that 
unknown Power which loathes the traffic of nations, 
and therefore fenced off a region with a scorching 
zone on one hand and the shifting Syrtes on the 
other, and set death in the strip between the two. 
Through his secret retreat civil war marches on ; 
and the soldiers, sharing his knowledge of this 
mysterious region, beat on the gates that shut in the 
West. Worse things perhaps await us when we 
enter there : fire and hissing water meet,^ and the 
sky sinks lower down ; but, on our present course, 
there lies no land more remote than the gloomy 



Tristia regna lubae. Quaeremus forsitan istas 

Serpentum terras : liabet hoc solacia caelum : 870 

Vivit adhuc aliquid. Patriae non arva require 

Europamque alios soles Asiamque videntem : 

Qua te parte poli, qua te tellure reliqui, 

Africa? Cyrenis etiamnunc bruma rigebat: 

Exiguaiie via legem convertimus anni ? 875 

Imus in adversos axes^ evolvimur orbe, 

Terga damus ferieiida Noto ; nunc forsitan ipsa est 

Sub pedibus iam Roma meis. Solacia fati 

Haec petimus : veniant hostes, Caesarque sequatur, 

Qua fugimus." Sic dura suos patientia questus 880 

Exonerat. Cogit tantos tolerare labores 

Summa duels virtus, qui nuda fusus harena 

Excubat atque omni fortunam provocat bora. 

Omnibus unus adest fatis ; quocumque vocatus 

Advolat atque ingens meritum maiusque salute 886 

Contulit, in letum vires ; puduitque gementem 

lllo teste mori. Quod ius habuisset in ipsum 

Ulla lues ? casus alieno in pectore vincit I 

Spectatorque docet magnos nil posse dolores. 

Vix miseris serum tanto lassata periclo 890 

Auxilium Fortuna dedit. Gens unica terras 
Incolit a saevo serpentum innoxia morsu, 
Marmaridae Psylli. Par lingua potentibus herbis, 
Ipse cruor tutus nullumque admittere virus 

^ They are marching westwards, but speak as if they were 
going towards the South Pole. The south wind is conceived 
as rising from the Equator, so that, when they have passed 
the Equator, they will have it at their backs. 


kingdom of Juba, known to us by report alone. 
Perhaps we shall yet regret this land of serpents: 
this clime has one consolation — that life is still 
found here. I do not ask fOr my native fields, nor 
for Europe and Asia that see another sun; but 
where is Africa? In what quarter of the sky or 
region of the earth did I come out of it? But 
lately there was winter's frost at Gyrene ; has a short 
march had power to invert the order of the year? 
We are marching towards the opposite pole, evicted 
from the world, and turning our backs for the South 
wind to strike ; ^ perhaps Rome itself is now beneath 
my feet. To comfort us in our doom, we ask that 
our foes may come here, and that Caesar may follow 
the line of our flight." Thus stubborn endurance 
throws off the burden of its complaints. They are 
constrained to bear such hardships by the heroism of 
their leader, who keeps guard lying on the bare 
sand and challenges destiny every hour. Though 
but one, he is present at every death-struggle ; 
wherever they call him, he hastens and confers a 
mighty benefit, greater even than life, by giving 
them courage to die ; and the soldier was ashamed, 
when watched by Cato, to die with a groan upon 
his lips. Against himself no plague could have any 
power. He conquered calamities in the hearts of 
others, and proved by his mere presence that sore 
pain was powerless. 

Reluctantly and late did Fortune, wearied of inflict- 
ing such dangers, give aid to their wretched plight. 
Of the races that inhabit the earth there is but one, 
the Psylli of Marmarica, who are unhurt by the fell 
bite of serpents. Their voice has the efficacy of 
powerful drugs ; their very blood is protected and 


Vel cantu cessante potens. Natura locorum 805 

lussit, ut inmunes mixtis serpentibus essent. 

Profuit in mediis sedem posuisse venenis. 

Pax illis cum morte data est. Fiducia tanta est 

Sanguinis : in terras parvus cum decidit infans, 

Ne qua sit externae Veneris mixtura timentes 900 

Letifica dubios explorant aspide partus. 

Utque lovis volucer, calido cum protulit ovo 

Inplumes natos, sol is convertit ad ortus : 

Qui potuere pati radios et lumine recto 

Sustinuere diem, caeli servantur in usus, 905 

Qui Phoebo cessere, iacent : sic pignora gentis 

Psyllus habet, si quis tactos non horruit angues. 

Si quis donatis lusit serpentibus infans. 

Nee solum gens ilia sua contenta salute 

Excubat hospitibus, contraque nocentia monstra 910 

Psyllus adest populis. Qui tum Romana secutus 

Signa, simul iussit statui tentoria ductor, 

Primum, quas valli spatium conprendit, harenas 

Expurgat cantu verbisque fugantibus angues. 

Ultima castrorum medicatus circumit ignis. 915 

Hie ebulum stridet peregrinaque galbana sudant^ 

Et tamarix non laeta comas Eoaque costos 

Et panacea potens et Thessala centaurea 

Peucedanonque sonant flammis Erycinaque thapsos, 

Et larices fumoque gravem serpentibus urunt 920 

Habrotonum et longe nascentis cornua cervi. 

Sic nox tuta viris. At si quis peste diurna 

1 From death by poisoa. 


can keep out all poison, even without the use of 
charms. The nature of their land has bidden them 
live unliarmed in the midst of serpents. By making 
their abode where poison surrounds them, they have 
gained this advantage, that death has granted them 
a safe-conduct.^ Great is their reliance upon their 
blood: whenever a new-born babe falls to earth, 
fearing some contamination of foreign breed, they 
test the suspected infant by means of a venomous 
asp. As the bird of Jove turns his un feathered 
eaglets, when hatched from the warm egg, to face 
the rising sun — those who prove able to endure the 
beams, and can gaze without flinching straight at the 
light, are kept alive for the service of the god ; but 
those whom the sun has mastered are neglected — so 
the Psylli are convinced that the breed is true, if the 
babe shrinks not to touch snakes and makes a play- 
thing of the serpent given him. And that race, not 
satisfied with safety for themselves, keep guard for 
strangers and aid mankind against deadly monsters. 
They followed tlie Roman army now ; and, as soon 
as the leader ordered the tents to be pitched, they 
began by purifying the sand within the circuit of the 
rampart with spells and charms to banish the snakes. 
The limits of the camj) were surrounded by a fire of 
fumigation, in which elder-wood crackled and 
foreign galbanum bubbled ; the tamarisk of scanty 
leaf. Eastern costos, powerful all-heal, Thessalian 
centaury, fennel, and Sicilian thapsos made a noise 
in the flame ; and the natives also burned larchwood, 
and southernwood whose smoke snakes loathe, and 
horns of deer — deer whose birthplace is far from 
Africa. Thus the soldiers were protected at night. 
But if any man was smitten by day and near death, 



Fata trahit, tunc sunt magicae miracula ycntis 
Psyllorumque ingens et rapti pugna veneni. 
Nam primum tacta designat membra saliva, 925 

Quae cohibet virus retinetque in volnere pestem ; 
Plurima tunc volvit spumanti carmina lingua 
Murmure continue, nee dat suspiria cursus 
Volneris, aut minimum patiuntur fata tacere. 
Saepe quidem pestis nigris inserta medullis 930 

Excantata fugit ; sed, si quod tardius audit 
Virus et elicitum iussumque exire repugnat, 
Turn super incumbens pallentia volnera lambit 
Ore venena trahens et siccat dentibus artus, 
Extractamque potens gelido de corpore mortem 935 
Expuit ; et cuius morsus superaverit anguis, 
lam promptum Psyllis vel gustu nosse veneni. 
Hoc igitur tandem levior Romana iuventus 
Auxilio late squalentibus errat in arvis. 
Bis positis Phoebe flammis, bis luce recepta 940 

Vidit harenivagum surgens fugiensque Catonem. 
lamque illi magis atque magis durescere pulvis 
Coepit et in terram Libye spissata redire, 
lamque procul rarae nemorum se tollere frondes, 
Surgere congesto non culta mapalia culmo. 946 

Quanta dedit miseris melioris gaudia terrae. 
Cum primum saevos contra videre leones ! 
Proxima Leptis erat, cuius statione quieta 
Exfegere hiemem nimbis flammisque carentem. 

^ Plutarch's more sober account limits this march to seven 
days ; Lucan prolongs it to two months. 



then the wondrous powers of the people were dis- 
played, and there was a mighty battle between the 
Psylli and the poison absorbed. The native begins 
by marking the part with the touch of his spittle ; 
this arrests the venom and confines it to the wound ; 
and then his foaming lips rehearse full many a spell 
with unbroken muttering ; for the speed of the 
ailment suffers him not to draw breath, nor does 
death permit a moment's silence. Often indeed the 
bane, after it has lodged in the blackened marrow, 
is expelled by incantation ; but, whenever the poison 
is slow to obey, and resists when it is summoned 
forth and commanded to come out, then the healer 
leans over and licks the bloodless place, sucking up 
the venom and draining the limbs with his teeth, 
until victorious he drags out the death from the cold 
body, and spits it out of his mouth. And it is a 
simple thing for the Psylli to tell by the taste of the 
poison what kind of snake it was whose bite the 
healer has mastered. 

So, relieved at last by their aid, the Roman 
soldiers wandered far and wide over the barren 
plains. Twice had the moon lost her light and 
twice regained it, while her rising and setting 
witnessed Cato lost in the desert.^ But now he felt 
the sand grow ever firmer under his feet, and the soil 
of Africa became solid ground again ; and now the 
leaves of trees began here and there to rise in the 
distance, and rude huts raised with piles of straw. 
How the sufferers rejoiced to have reached a better 
country, when first they saw facing them fierce lions 
only ! Leptis was the nearest city ; and in those 
peaceful quarters they spent all winter, unvexed by 
storms or heat. 



Caesar, ut Emathia satiatus clade recessit, 950 

Cetera curarum proiecit pondera soli 
Intentus genero ; cuius vestigia frustra 
Terris sparsa legens fama duce tendit in undas, 
Threiciasque legit fauces et amore notatum 
Aequor et Heroas lacrimoso litore turres, 955 

Qua pelago nomen Nepheleias abstulit Helle. 
Non Asiam brevioris aquae disterminat usquam 
Fluctus ab Europa, quamvis Byzantion arto 
Pontus et ostriferam dirimat Calchedona cursu, 
Euxinuraque ferens parvo ruat ore Propontis. 960 

Sigeasque petit famae mirator harenas 
Et Simoentis aquas et Graio nobile busto 
Rhoetion et niultum debentes vatibus umbras. 
Circumit exustae nomen memorabile Troiae 
Magnaque Phoebei quaerit vestigia muri. 965 

lam silvae steriles et putres robore trunci 
Assaraci pressere domos et templa deorura 
lam lassa radice tenent, ac tota teguntur 
Pergama dumetis : etiam periere ruinae. 
Aspicit Hesiones scopulos silvaque latentes 970 

Anchisae thalamos ; quo iudex sederit antro, 
Unde puer raptus caelo, quo vertice Nais 
Luxerit Oenone : nullum est sine nomine saxum. 
Inscius in sicco serpentem pulvere rivum 
Transierat, qui Xanthus erat. Securus in alto 976 

Gramine ponebat gressus : Phryx incola manes 

^ It was called the Hellespont, after Helle. The "lovers'* 
are Hero and Leander. 

* Ajax. ^ Ganymede. 


When Caesar had taken his fill of the slaughter 
and left Pharsalia, he cast off the burden of all other 
cares and turned his attention wholly to his son-in- 
law. In vain he followed Pompey's scattered traces 
over the land, and then report guided him to the 
sea. He sailed along the Thracian straits and the 
waters made famous by the lovers, and past Hero's 
turrets on the melancholy shore where Helle, 

ti- daughter of Nephele, robbed a sea of its name.^ 
Nowhere does a smaller stretch of water sever Asia 
from Europe, although the channel is narrow by 
which the Euxine divides Byzantium from the 

, oyster-beds of Calchedon, and the opening is small 

'by which the Propontis carries in its course the 
waters of the Euxine. Emulous of ancient glory, 
Caesar visited the sands of Sigeum and the stream of 
Simois, Rhoeteum famous for the Grecian's ^ grave, 
and the dead who owe so much to the poet's verse. 

<ift He walked round the burnt city of Troy, now only 
a famous name, and searched for the mighty remains 
of the wall that Apollo raised. Now barren woods 
and rotting tree-trunks grow over the palace 
of Assaracus, and their worn-out roots clutch the 
temples of the gods, and Pergama is covered over 
with thorn-brakes : the very ruins have been 
destroyed. He sees Hesione's rock and the secret 
marriage-chamber of Anchises in the wood ; the 
cave in which Paris sat as umpire, and the spot from 
which the boy ^ was carried off to the sky ; he sees 
the peak on which the Naiad Oenone lamented. A 
legend clings to every stone. The stream trickling 
through the dry dust, which he crossed without 
knowing it, was the Xanthus. When he stepped 
carelessly over the rank grass, the native bade him 



Hectoreos calcare vetat. Discussa iacebant 
Saxa nee uUius faciem servantia sacri : 
"Hereeas " monstrator ait ^'noii respicis aras? ** 

O sacer et magnus vatum labor ! omnia fato 980 

Eripis et populis donas mortalibus aevum. 
Invidia sacrae, Caesar, ne tangere famae ; 
Nam, si quid Latiis fas est promittere Musis, 
Quantum Zmyrnaei durabunt vatis honores, 
Venturi me teque legent ; Pharsalia nostra 986 

Vivet, et a nuUo tenebris damnabimur aevo. 

Ut ducis inplevit visus veneranda vetustas, 
Erexit subitas congestu caespitis aras 
Votaque turicremos non inrita fudit in ignes, 
" Di cinerum, Phrygias colitis quicumque ruinas, 990 
Aeneaeque mei, quos nunc Lavinia sedes 
Servat et Alba, lares, et quorum lucet in aris 
Ignis adhuc Phrygius, nullique aspecta virorum 
Pallas, in abstruso pignus memorabile templo, 
Gentis luleae vestris clarissimus aris 995 

Dat pia tura nepos et vos in sede priore 
Rite vocat. Date felices in cetera cursus, 
Restituam populos ; grata vice moenia reddent 
Ausonidae Phrygibus, Romanaque Pergama surgent." 
Sic fatus repetit classes et tota secundis 1000 

Vela dedit Coris, avidusque urguente procella 
lliacas pensare moras Asiamque potentem 
Praevehitur pelagoque Rhodon spumante relinquit. 

* Zfvs (pKfLOs, worshipped as god of Priam's household. 

^ The meaning is that Homer's Iliad is more certain of 
immortality than any Latin epic. Smyrna was one of the cities 
which claimed to be the birthplace of Homer. 

' "Fought by you and told by me " is his meaning (Housman). 

* The Palladium, or image of Pallas, on which the safety 
of Troy depended. 




not to walk over the body of Hector. When 
scattered stones^ preserving no appearance of sanctity, 
lay before them, the guide asked : " Do you mean to 
pass over the altar of Zeus Herceos ^ ? ' 

How mighty, how sacred is the poet's task ! He 
snatches all things from destruction and gives to 
mortal men immortality. Be not jealous, Caesar, of 
those whom fame has consecrated ; for, if it is 
permissible for the Latin Muses to promise aught,^ 
then, as long as the fame of Smyrna's bard endures, 
posterity shall read my verse and your deeds ; our ^ 
Pharsalia shall live on, and no age will ever doom us 
to oblivion. 

When Caesar had satisfied his eyes with venerable 
antiquity, he reared in haste an altar of piled-up 
sods, and uttered prayers and vows over the incense- 
burning flame ; and both were fulfilled. " All ye 
spirits of the dead, who inhabit the ruins of Troy ; 
and ye household gods of my ancestor Aeneas, who 
now dwell safe in Lavinium and Alba, and upon their 
altar still shines fire from Troy ; and thou, Pallas, 
famous pledge of security,* whom no male eye may 
behold in thy secret shrine — lo ! I, most renowned 
descendant of the race of lulus, here place incense 
due upon your altars, and solemnly invoke you in 
your ancient abode. Grant me prosperity to the 
end, and I will restore your people : with grateful 
return the Italians shall rebuild the walls of the 
Phrygians, and a Roman Troy shall rise." When 
he had spoken thus, Caesar went back to his ships 
and spread full sails to favouring winds. The gale 
drove him on, and he was eager to make up for his 
delay at Troy, so that he sailed past wealthy Asia 
and left Rhodes unvisited in its foaming sea. The 



Septima nox Zephyro numquam laxante rudentes 

Ostendit Phariis Aegyptia litora flammis. 1005 

Sed prius orta dies nocturnam lampada texit 

Quam tutas intraret aquas. Ibi plena tumultu 

Litora et incerto turbatas murmure voces 

Accipit, ac dubiis veritus se credere regnis 

Abstinuit tellure rates. Sed dira satelles 1010 

Regis dona ferens medium provectus in aequor 

CoUa gerit Magni Phario velamine tecta 

Ac prius infanda commendat crimina voce : 

" Terrarum domitor, Romanae maxime gentis, 

Et, quod adhuc nescis, genero secure perempto, 1015 

Rex tibi Pellaeus belli pelagique labores 

Donat et, Emathiis quod solum defuit armis, 

Exhibet. Absenti bellum civile peractum est : 

Thessalicas quaerens Magnus reparare ruinas 

Ense iacet nostro. Tan to te pignore, Caesar, 1020 

Emimus ; hoc tecum percussum est sanguine foedus. 

Accipe regna Phari nullo quaesita cruore ; 

Accipe Niliaci ius gurgitis ; accipe, quidquid 

Pro Magni cervice dares ; dignumque clientem 

Castris crede tuis, cui tantum fata licere 1025 

In generum voluere tuum. Nee vile putaris 

Hoc meritum, facili nobis quod caede peractum est. 

Hospes avitus erat, depulso sceptra parenti 

Reddiderat. Quid plura feram ? tu nomina tanto 



West wind never slackened the cordage of the ships 
until the seventh night revealed the coast of Egypt 
by the flame of Pharos. But day dawned and veiled 
that beacon of night before he sailed into the quiet 
waters. There he found the shore filled with dis- 
turbance, and heard voices that muttered in un- 
certainty and confusion. Therefore he kept his 
ships away from land^ fearing to trust himself to a 
treacherous kingdom. But a minion of the king, 
bearing his master's ghastly gift, put out into mid- 
stream ; he carried the head of Magnus wrapped in 
linen of Egypt, and first he tried with infamous 
speech to put a fair face on foul deeds : " Conqueror 
of the world and mightiest of the Roman race, you 
are made safe, though you are ignorant of it as yet, 
by the slaying of your son-in-law. The Macedonian 
king spares you the toil of war by land and sea, and 
presents you with the one thing lacking to the 
victory of Pharsalia. The civil war has been won 
for you without your presence ; when Magnus sought 
to rebuild the fortunes ruined at Pharsalia, he was 
laid low by our sword. By so dear a pledge have 
we bought you, Caesar; by this blood our treaty 
with you was concluded. We give you the kingdom, 
to be yours without bloodshed ; we give you power 
over the Nile's waters ; we give all that you yourself 
would have given for Pompey's head; reckon us 
then as adherents worthy of your army, because 
Fortune willed that we should have such power 
against your kinsman. Nor must you undervalue 
our service, because we conferred it by an execution 
that cost us nothing. Pompey was our friend of 
old ; he had restored the throne to our king's 
banished father. Need I say more? You must find 



Invenies operi, vel famam consule mundi. 1030 

Si scelus est, plus te nobis debere fateris, 

Quod scelus hoc non ipse facis." Sic fatus opertum 

Detexit tenuitque caput. lam languida morte 

Effigies habitum noti mutaverat oris. 

Non primo Caesar damnavit munera visu 1035 

Avertitque oculos ; voltus, dum crederet, haesit; 

Utque fidem vidit sceleris tutumque putavit 

lam bonus esse socer, lacrimas non sponte cadentes 

Effudit gemitusque expressit pectore laeto, 

Non aliter manifesta potens abscondere mentis 1040 

Gaudia quam lacrimis, meritumque inmane tyranni 

Destruit et generi mavolt lugere revolsum 

Quam debere caput. Qui duro membra senatus 

Calcarat voltu, qui sicco lumine campos 

Viderat Emathios, uni tibi, Magne, negare 1045 

Non audet gemitus. O sors durissima fati ! 

Huncine tu, Caesar, scelerato Marte petisti. 

Qui tibi flendus erat? nunc^ mixti foedera tangunt 

Te generis ? nunc nata iubet maerere neposque ? 

Credis apud populos Pompei nomen amantes 1050 

Hoc castris prodesse tuis ? Fortasse tyranni 

Tangeris invidia, captique in viscera Magni 

Hoc alii licuisse doles, quererisque perisse 

Vindictam belli raptumque e iure superbi 

Victoris generum. Quisquis te flere coegit 1066 

Impetus, a vera longe pietate recessit. 

^ nunc • . . nunc Hamman : non . . . nee MS8, 


a name for this great deed ; or else ask what the 
world says of it. If crime it be, then you admit a 
greater debt to us, because your own hand is not 
guilty of the crime." With these words he took 
off the covering from the head, and held it in his 
hands. By now the features, relaxed by death, had 
changed the aspect of that familiar face. When 
Caesar first saw it, he did not condemn the gift nor 
turn away : his eyes were fixed upon the face till 
he could be sure. Then, when he saw the proof of 
the crime, and thought it safe at last to be the 
loving kinsman, he shed crocodile tears and forced 
out groans while his heart rejoiced. By tears alone 
was he able to hide his obvious delight ; and thus 
he belittles the king's horrid service, preferring to 
mourn the severed head of his kinsman rather than 
owe obligation for it. Though he had trampled on 
corpses of senators with face unmoved, and had 
beheld dry-eyed the field of Pharsalia, to Magnus 
alone he dares not deny the tribute of tears. Oh, 
harsh decree of Fortune ! Did you, Caesar, pursue 
with impious arms this man, for whom you had yet 
to weep? Does the bond of kinship appeal to you 
at last? Do your daughter and her child at last 
bid you grieve ? Do you believe that this grief will 
serve your cause among the nations who love the 
name of Pompey ? Perhaps you are jealous of 
Ptolemy, resenting that another had such power 
against the person of Magnus, his prisoner ; and you 
complain that war's vengeance has been lost, and 
that your kinsman has been snatched from the 
disposal of his haughty conqueror. Whatever the 
impulse that forced you to weep, it was far removed 
from sincere affection. Is this forsooth the purpose 



Scilicet hoc animo terras atque aequora lustras, 
Necubi suppressus pereat gener. O bene rapta 
Arbitrio mors ista tuo ! quam magna remisit 
Crimina Romano tristis fortuna pudori, 1060 

Quod te non passa est misereri, perfide, Magni 
Viventis ! Nee non his fallere vocibus audet 
Adquiritque fidem simulati fronte doloris : 

" Aufer ab aspectu nostro funesta, satelles. 
Regis dona tui ; peius de Caesare vestrum 1065 

Quam de Pompeio meruit scelus ; unica belli 
Praemia civilis, victis donare salutem, 
Perdidimus. Quod si Phario germana tyranno 
Non invisa foret, potuissem reddere regi 
Quod meruit, fratrique tuum pro munere tali 1070 

Misissem, Cleopatra, caput. Secreta quid arma 
Movit et inseruit nostro sua tela labori ? 
Ergo in Thessalicis Pellaeo fecimus arvis 
lus gladio ? vestris quaesita licentia regnis? 
Non tuleram Magnum mecum Romana regentem : 1076 
Te, Ptolemaee, feram ? frustra civilibus armis 
Miscuimus gentes, si qua est hoc orbe potestas 
Altera quam Caesar, si tellus ulla duorum est. 
Vertissem Latias a vestro litore proras : 
Famae cura vetat, ne non damnasse cruentam 1080 

Sed videar timuisse Pharon. Nee fallere vosmet 
Credite victorem : nobis quoque tale paratum 
Litoris hospitium ; ne sic mea colla gerantur, 
Thessaliae fortuna facit. Maiore profecto 
Quam metui poterat discrimine gessimus arma : 1086 




that hurries you over land and sea — that your kins- 
man may not be slain in some secret corner ? Well 
is it that the power to pass sentence on him was 
taken from you. How deep the stain cruel Fortune 
spared the honour of Rome when she would not 
suffer a traitor like you to have mercy on Magnus 
while he yet lived. — Yet Caesar ventured to speak 
deceitful words, and sought to gain belief for the 
sorrow feigned by his brow. 

*' Take from my sight the ghastly gift of the king 
you serve. Your crime has done more disservice to 
Caesar than to Pompey : you have taken from me the 
*^^ one privilege of civil war — the power of granting 
life to the defeated. If the king of Egypt did not 
hate his sister, I might have made a fitting return 
for such a gift by sending him the head of Cleopatra. 
Why did he draw the sword independently and 
thrust his weapon into the conflict of Romans ? Did 
I then on the field of Piiarsalia grant licence to the 
Macedonian steel? Was it my object that your 
rulers should do what they liked.'' Shall I, who 
could not suffer Pompey to rule Rome together 
with me, suffer Ptolemy as a partner.'* In vain have 
I convulsed the world with civil war, if there is any 
authority on earth save mine, if any land owns more 
than one lord. I might have steered the Roman 
prows away from your coast ; but care for my repu- 
tation prevented me : it might seem that I did not 
condemn bloodstained Egypt, but rather feared her. 
Do not fancy that you deceive the conqueror : the 
same reception on the shore was prepared for me 
too, and I may thank Pharsalia that my head is not 
carried like his. The risk we ran in warfare was 
really greater than could be apprehended : I feared 



Exilium generique minas Romamque timebam : 

Poena fugae Ptolemaeus erat. Sed parcimus annis 

Donamusque nefas. Sciat hac pro caede tyrannus 

Nil venia plus posse dari. Vos condite busto 

Tanti colla ducis, sed non, ut crimina solum 1090 

Vestra tegat tellus : iusto date tura sepulchre 

Et placate caput cineresque in litore fusos 

Colligite atque unam sparsis date manibus umam. 

Sentiat adventum soceri vocesque querentis 

Audiat umbra pias. Dum nobis omnia praefert, 1096 

Dum vitam Phario mavolt debere clienti^ 

Laeta dies rapta est populis^ concordia mundo 

Nostra perit. Caruere deis mea vota secundis, 

Ut te conplexus positis felicibus armis 

Adfectus a te veteres vitamque rogarem, 1100 

Magne, tuam, dignaque satis mercede laborum 

Contentus par esse tibi. Tunc pace fideli 

Fecissem, ut victus posses ignoscere divis, 

Fecisses, ut Roma mihi." Nee talia fatus 

Invenit fletus comitem, nee turba querent! 1105 

Credidit : abscondunt gemitus et pectora laeta 

Fronte tegunt, hilaresque nefas spectare cruentum, 

— O bona libertas — cum Caesar lugeat, audent. 



only exile, and the threats of my kinsman^ and Rome ; 
but the penalty of defeat was — Ptolemy. Yet 1 spare 
his youth and pardon his crime. Let your master learn 
that pardon is the highest reward this shedding 
of blood can earn. You must lay in the grave the 
head of the great general, and not in such a way 
that the earth merely hides your guilt : give incense 
to fitting sepulture, ask pardon of the head, collect 
the ashes strewn on the shore, and let the scattered 
remains meet in a single urn. Let the dead man 
be aware that his kinsman is here ; let him hear the 
voice of my love and sorrow. Because he preferred 
all things to me and would rather owe his life to 
his Egyptian client, therefore the nations have been 
deprived of a joyful day, and the world has lost our 
reconciliation. My prayer found no favour with 
Heaven — my prayer that I might lay down success- 
ful arms and then embrace Pompey ; that I might 
beg of him to love me as of old, and to go on living ; 
that I might ask for myself to be his equal ; and I 
should have been content with this, as a sufficient 
reward for my hardships. Then, with peace and 
confidence between us, I should have enabled him 
to pardon Heaven for his defeat, and he would have 
enabled Rome to pardon me." Thus he spoke, but 
found none to share his weeping ; nor did the 
hearers believe his complaint ; they hid their sorrow 
and veiled their feelings with a mask of rejoicing ; 
though Caesar mourns, they dare — how gracious 
the privilege ! — to look with cheerful faces at that 
sight of blood and crime. 




Ut primum terras Pompei colla secutus 

Altigit et diras calcavit Caesar harenas, 

Pugnavit fortuna ducis fatumque nocentis 

Aegypti, regnum Lagi Romana sub arma 

Iret, an eriperet mundo Memphiticus ensis 

Victoris victique caput. Tua profuit umbra, 

Magne, tui socerum rapuere a sanguine manes, 

Ne populus post te Nilum Romanus amaret. 

Inde Paraetoniam fertur securus in urbem 

Pignore tam saevi seeleris sua signa secutam. 10 

Sed fremitu volgi fasces et iura querentis 

Inferri Romana suis discordia sensit 

Pectora et ancipites animos, Magnumque perisse 

Non sibi. Turn voltu semper celante pavorem 

Intrepidus superum sedes et templa vetusti 16 

Numinis antiquas Macetum testantia vires 

Circumit, et nulla captus dulcedine rerum, 

Non auro cultuque deum, non moenibus urbis, 

Eflfbssum tumulis cupide descendit in antrum. 

Illic Pellaei proles vaesana Philippi, 20 

Felix praedo, iacet terrarum vindice fate 

Raptus : sacratis totum spargenda per orbem 

Membra viri posuere adytis ; fortuna pepercit 

' I.e. Egyptian. 

2 The meaning is, that Caesar's murder might, in the eyes of 
the Roman people, have atoned for Pompey's murder. 
'^ Alexander the Great. 


As soon as Caesar, following Pompey*s head, 
reached land and trod those fatal sands, his fortune 
and the destiny of guilty Egypt contended whether 
the realm of Lagiis should be conquered by Roman 
arms, or the Memphian^ sword should rid the world 
of the victor's head as well as of the loser's. The 
shade of Magnus did service ; his ghost snatched 
his kinsman from the sword, that the Roman people 
might not, even after the death of Pompey, love the 
Nile.^ Thence free from care Caesar moved to the 
Egyptian capital, which was bound to his cause by 
the pledge of such a ruthless crime. But from the 
rage of the populace, who bore it ill that Roman 
rods and laws should invade their own, he learned 
that feeling was divided and allegiance wavering, 
and that not for his gain had Magnus fallen. Then 
undaunted, with looks that ever masked his fears, 
he visited the temples of the gods, and the ancient 
shrines of divinity which attest the former might of 
Macedonia. No thing of beauty attracted him, 
neither the gold and ornaments of the gods, nor 
the city walls; but in eager haste he went down 
into the vault hewn out for a tomb. There lies the 
mad son of Macedonian Philip, that fortunate iree- 
booter,^ cut off* by a death that avenged the world. 
The limbs that should have been scattered over the 
whole earth they laid in a hallowed shrine ; Fortune 



Manibus, et regni duravit ad ultima fatum. 

Nam sibi libertas umquam si redderet orbem, 25 

Ludibrio servatus erat, non utile mundo 

Editus exemplum, terras tot posse sub uno 

Esse viro. Macetum tines latebrasque suorura 

Deseruit victasque patri despexit Athenas, 

Perque Asiae populos fatis urguentibus actus 30 

Humana cum strage ruit gladiumque per omnes 

Exegit gentes ; ignotos miscuit amnes 

Persarum Euphraten, Indorum sanguine Gangen : 

Terrarum fatale malum fulmenque, quod omnes 

Percuteret pariter populos, et sidus iniquum 35 

Gentibus. Oceano classes inferre parabat 

Exteriore mari. Non illi flamma nee undae 

Nee sterilis Libye nee Syrticus obstitit Hammon. 

Isset in occasus mundi devexa secutus 

Ambissetque polos Nilumque a fonte bibisset: 40 

Occurrit suprema dies, naturaque solum 

Hunc potuit finem vaesano ponere regi ; 

Qui secuni invidia, quo ^ totum ceperat orbem, 

Abstulit imperium, nulloque herede relicto 

Totius fati lacerandas praebuit urbes. 45 

Sed cecidit Babylone sua Parthoque verendus. 

Pro pudor ! Eoi propius timuere sarisas 

Quam nunc pila timent populi. Licet usque sub Arcton 

Regnemus Zephyrique domos terrasque premamus 

Flagrantis post terga Noti, cedemus in ortus 60 

* quo TTotLsman : qua MS8. 

^ See n. to viii. 298. 


spared his dead body, and the destiny of his reign 
endured to the last. For if Freedom had ever made 
men their own masters again, his body would have 
been preserved for mockery — a man who was born 
to teach this bad lesson to the world, that so many 
lands may obey one lord. He left his own obscure 
realm of Macedonia ; he spurned Athens which his 
father had conquered ; driven by the impulse of 
destiny, he rushed through the peoples of Asia, 
mowing down mankind ; he drove his sword home 
in the breast of every nation ; he defiled distant 
rivers, the Euphrates and the Ganges, with Persian 
and Indian blood ; he was a pestilence to earth, a 
thunderbolt that struck all peoples alike, a comet of 
disaster to mankind. He was preparing to launch 
his fleets on the Ocean by way of the outer sea. 
No obstacle to him was heat, or sea, or barren 
Libya, or the Syrtes, or the desert. Following the 
curve of the earth, he would have marched round to 
the West, and gone beyond both the poles, and 
drunk of the Nile at its source. But Death stood in 
his way, and Nature alone was able to bring his 
mad reign to this end : the power, by which he had 
seized the whole world, he carried away with him 
in his jealousy, and left no successor to inherit all 
his greatness, but exposed the nations to be torn 
asunder. He died, however, in Babylon he had 
conquered ; and the Parthian feared him. Shame 
is it that the peoples of the East shrank more from 
contact with the phalanx^ than they shrink now 
from contact with the legion. Thougii Roman rule 
extends to the North and the home of the West 
wind, though we oppress the lands that lie behind 
the burning South wind, yet in the East we shall 


VOL. I. U 


Arsacidum domino. Non felix Parthia Crassis 
Exiguae secura fuit provincia Pellae. 

lam Pelusiaco venieiis a gurgite Nili 
Rex puer inbellis populi sedaverat iras, 
Obside quo pacis Pellaea tutus in aula 65 

Caesar erat, cum se parva Cleopatra biremi 
Corrupto custode Phari laxare catenas 
Intulit Emathiis ignaro Caesare tectis, 
Dedecus Aegypti, Latii feralis Erinys, 
Romano non casta malo. Quantum inpulit Argos 60 
lliacasque domos facie Spartana nocenti, 
Hesperios auxit tantum Cleopatra furores. 
Terruit ilia suo, si fas, Capitolia sistro 
Et Romana petit inbelli signa Canopo 
Caesare captivo Pharios ductura triumphos ; 65 

Leucadioque fuit dubius sub gurgite casus, 
An mundum ne nostra quidem matroua teneret. 
Hoc animi nox ilia dedit, quae prima cubili 
Miscuit incestam ducibus Ptolemaida nostris. 
Quis tibi vaesani veniam non donet amoris, 70 

Antoni, durum cum Caesarls hauserit ignis 
Pectus ? et in media rabie medioque furore 
Et Pompeianis habitata manibus aula 
Sanguine Thessalicae clad is perfusus adulter 
Admisit Venerem curis, et miscuit armis 75 

fnlicitosque toros et non ex coniuge partus. 
Pro pudor ! oblitus Magrii tibi, lulia, fratres 
Obscaena de matre dedit, partesque fugatas 

^ I.e. Alexander. 

^ I.e. of Macedonia under Alexander ; see note to v. 60. 
« Helen. 

* The rattle {sistrum) was regularly used in the worship of 
Isis by the Egyptians. 
' At Actium. 



yield precedence to the lord of the Parthians.^ 
Parthia, that brought doom on the Crassij was a 
mere peaceful province of little Pella.^ 

And now the boy-king came from the Pelusian 
mouth of the Nile^ and allayed the discontent of his 
unwarlike people ; and, with him as a hostage for 
peace, Caesar was safe in the Macedonian court. 
But then Cleopatra, having bribed the guards to 
undo the chain across the harbour of Pharos, 
sailed in a small two-banked ship and entered the 
Macedonian palace without Caesar's knowledge — 
Cleopatra, the shame of Egypt, the fatal Fury of 
Latium, whose unchastity cost Rome dear. As the 
dangerous beauty of the Spartan queen ^ overthrew 
Argos and Troy town, in like measure Cleopatra 
fanned the frenzy of Italy. Her rattle* terrified 
the Capitol — can such things be? — she hurled un- 
warlike Canopus against Roman warriors, hoping to 
head an Egyptian triumph and lead a Caesar 
captive ; and by the waters of Leucas ^ it was a 
question whether the world should be ruled by a 
woman who was not even a Roman. Her insolence 
was due to that night which first brought the 
wanton daughter of the Ptolemies to the arms of 
a Roman general. Who can refuse pardon to the 
infatuation of Antony, when even the stubborn heart 
of Caesar took fire .'* Even in the midst of his rage 
and fury, in that palace haunted by Pompey's ghost, 
while yet drenched with the blood of Pharsalia, he 
suffered adulterous love to mingle with his anxieties, 
and combined with war unlawful wedlock and 
spurious offspring. Shame on him ! Forgetting 
Pompey, he gave Julia brothers by an abominable 
mother ; he suffered the defeated party to rally in 



Passus in extremis Libyae coalescere regnis 
Tempora Niliaco turpis dependit amori^ 80 

Dum donare Pharon^ diim non sibi vincere mavolt. 
Quem formae confisa suae Cleopatra sine ullis 
Tristis adit lacrimis, simulatum compta dolorem 
Qua decuitj veluti laceros dispersa capillos, 
Et sic orsa loqui : "Si qua est, o maxime Caesar, 86 
Nobilitas, Pharii proles clarissima I^agi, 
Exul, in aeternum sceptris depulsa paternis, 
Ni tua restituit veteri me dextera fato, 
Conplector regina pedes. Tu gentibus aequura 
Sidus ades nostris. Non urbes prima tenebo 90 

Femina Niliacas : nuUo discrimine sexus 
Reginam scit ferre Pharos. Lege summa perempti 
Verba patris, qui iura mihi communia regni 
Et tlialamos cum fratre dedit. Puer ipse sororem, 
Sit modo liber, amat ; sed habet sub iure Pothiui 95 
Adfectus ensesque sues. Nil ipsa paterni 
luris inire peto : culpa tantoque pudore 
Solve domum, remove funesta satellitis arma 
Et regem regnare iube. Quantosne tumores 
Mente gerit famulus I Magni cervice revolsa 100 

lam tibi — sed procul hoc avertant fata — minatur. 
Sat fuit indignum, Caesar, mundoque tibique 
Pompeium facinus meritumque fuisse Pothini." 
Nequiquam duras temptasset Caesaris aures : 
Voltus adest precibus faciesque incesta perorat. 105 

^ I.e. Cleopatra. * Potliinus. 


the remote realms of Libya ; and he spent his time 
upon a shameful intrigue in Egypt, because he 
would rather give the country to another^ than 
conquer it for himself. Trusting in her beauty, 
Cleopatra approached him, in sorrow but not in 
tears : she had decked out her feigned grief, and 
her hair, as far as became her, was disordered, as 
if she had torn it; and tims she began: "Mighty 
Caesar, if birth counts for aught, I am the noble 
daughter of Lagus, king of Egypt ; but I have been 
driven from my father's throne and shall be an exile 
for ever, unless your right hand restores me to my 
former destiny ; and therefore I, a queen, embrace 
your feet. Ap[)ear as a benign star and assist our 
nation. I shall not be the first woman to rule the 
cities of the Nile : Egypt is accustomed to put up 
with a queen and make no distinction of sex. Read 
the last words of my dead father : he gave me an 
equal share of the royal power with my brother, 
and married me to him. The boy himself loves his 
sister, if only he were free ; but his feelings and his 
soldiers are alike controlled by Pothinus. I do not 
myself ask to be admitted to any share of my 
father's power ; I beg you only to free our house 
from such guilt and shame ; destroy the dangerous 
strength of the favourite,^ and bid the king be a 
king indeed. What pride the menial cherislies in 
his heart ! Having severed the head of Magnus, he 
now threatens you ; but may fate turn this danger 
far from you I It was indignity enough for you, 
Caesar, and for mankind, that a Pothinus gained 
credit for the murder of a Pompey." 

Vain would have been lier appeal to the stern ear 
of Caesar; but her face supported her petition, and 


VOL. I U 2 '^^' 


Exigit infandam corrupto iudice noctem. 

Pax ubi parta ducis donisque iii^entibus empta est, 

Excepere epulae tantarum gaudia reriim, 

Explicuitque suos magno Cleopatra tumuitu 

Nondum translates Romaiia in saecula luxiis. 110 

Ipse locus templi, quod vix corruptior aetas 

Extruat, instar erat ; laqueataque tecta ferebant 

Divitias, crassumque trabes absconderat aurum. 

Nee summis crustata domus sectisque nitebat 

Marmoribus, stabatque sibi non segnis achates 115 

Purpureusque lapis^ totaque eff'usus in aula 

Calcabatur onyx ; hebenus Meroitica^ vastos 

Non operit postes, sed stat pro robore vili, 

Auxilium non forma domus. Ebur atria vestit, 

Et suffecta manu foribus testudinis Jndae 120 

Terga sedent, crebro maculas distincta zmaragdo. 

Fulget gemma toris, et iaspide fulva supellex 

Stat mensas onerans, variaque triclinia vestc ^ 

Strata micant, Tyrio cuius pars maxima fuco 

Cocta diu virus non uno duxit aeno. 

Pars auro plumata nitet, pars ignea cocco, 125 

Ut mos est Phariis miscendi licia telis. 

Tum famulae numerus turbae populusque minister. 

Discolor hos sanguis, alios distinxerat aetas ; 

Haec Li by cos, pars tarn flavos gerit altera crines, 

Ut nullis Caesar Rheni se dicat in arvis 130 

Tam rutilas vidisse comas ; pars sanguinis usti 

Torta ca})ut refugosque gerens a fronte caj)illos ; 

^ ^Mcroitica Sahnasius : Mareotica MSS. 
* Inserted by llousman. 

^ A corrupt age would not be able to spare the money from 
its own pleasures to build such a temple. 

* "Leashes" were used in weaving, in order to separate the 
threads of the warp. 


her wicked beauty gained lier suit. Her judge was 
bribed, and slie spent the whole night in infamy. 
When Caesar's favour was gained and bought by 
mighty gifts, so joyful an event was followed by a 
feast; great was the bustle, as Cleopatra displayed 
her magnificence — magnificence which Roman society 
had not yet adopted. The place itself was the size 
of a temple, such a temple as a corrupt age^ would 
hardly rear; the panels of the ceiling displayed 
wealth, and the rafters were hidden beneath a thick 
coating of gold. The walls shone with marble ; nor 
were tiiey merely overlaid with a thin surface of it ; 
and agate stood there on its own account, no useless 
ornament, and porphyry. Alabaster was laid all 
over the hall to tread on ; and the ebony of Meroe, 
no mere covering for the great doors, took the place 
of common wood — a support and no mere decoration 
of the dwelling. Ivory clothed the entrance-hall; 
and Indian tortoise-shell, artificially coloured, was 
inlaid upon the doors, and its spots were adorned 
with many an emerald. Jewels glittered on the 
couches ; the cups, tawny with jasper, loaded the 
tables, and the sofas were bright with coverlets of 
divers colours — most had long been steeped in Tyrian 
dye and took their hue from repeated soakings, 
while others were embroidered with bright gold, and 
others blazed with scarlet, as the Eg3'ptian manner 
is of mingling leashes'^ in the web. There was also 
a swarm of attendants, and a multitude to serve the 
banqueters, differing from one another in race or 
age. Some had the hair of Africa, and others were 
so fair-headed that Caesar said he had never seen 
hair so red in the Rhine country ; some had dark 
skins and woolly heads, with hair receding from the 



Nee non infelix ferro mollita iuventus 

Atque exsecta virum : stat contra fortior aetas 

Vix ulla fuscante tamen lanugine malas. 135 

Discubuere illic reges maiorque potestas, 
Caesar; at inmodice formam fucata nocentem. 
Nee sceptris contenta suis nee fratre niarito, 
Plena maris rubri spoliis, colloque comisque 
Divitias Cleopatra gerit cultuque laborat. 140 

Candida Sidonio perliicent pectora filo, 
Quod Nilotis acus conpressum pectine Serum 
Solvit et extenso laxavit stamina velo. 
Dentibus hie niveis sectos Atlantide silva 
Inposuere orbes, quales ad Caesaris ora 14C 

Nee capto venere luba. Pro caecus et amens 
Ambitione furor, civilia bella gerenti 
Divitias aperire suas, incendere nientem 
Hospitis armati. Non sit licet ille nefando 
Marte paratus opes mundi quaesisse ruina ; 15C 

Pone duces priscos et nomina pauperis aevi, 
Fabricios Curiosque graves, hie ille recumbat 
Sordidus Etruscis abductus consul aratris : 
Optabit patriae talem duxisse triumphum. 

Infudere epulas auro, quod terra, quod aer, 155 

Quod pelagus Nilusque dedit, quod luxus inani 
Ambitione furens toto quaesivit in orbe 
Non mandante fame ; multas volucresque ferasque 
Aegypti posuere deos, manibusque ministrat 

Pearls. * Made of citrus- wood : see n. to ix. 427. 

* Cincinnatus. 



forehead. There too were hapless boys who had 
lost their manhood by the knife ; and opposite them 
stood youths, whose cheeks, in spite of their age, 
were scarce darkened by any down. 

There the sovereigns sat down, and with them 
Caesar, greater than they. Cleopatra, not content 
with a crown of her own and her brother for husband, 
was there, with her baleful beauty painted up 
beyond all measure : covered with the spoils of the 
Red Sea,i gi^^ carried a fortune round her neck and 
in her hair, and was weighed down by her ornaments. 
Her white breasts were revealed by the fiibric of 
Sidon, which, close-woven by the shuttle of the 
Seres, the Egyptian needle- worker pulls out, and 
loosens the thread by stretching the stuff. Then 
tiiey placed upon snowy tusks round tables ^ cut in 
Moorish forests, such tables as Caesar did not see 
even after he conquered Juba. What blindness, 
what madness for display, to reveal their wealth to 
the general in a civil war, and to kindle the avarice 
of a guest in arms ! ILven if it were not Caesar, in his 
impious warfare greedy to get wealth by the havoc 
of a world — place here the ancient leaders whose 
names adorn an age of poverty, a Fabricius and stern 
Curius ; or let the consul, summoned unwashed from 
his plough ^ in Etruria, take his place at this table, 
and he will pray to celebrate for his country a 
triumph as splendid. 

They served on gold a banquet of every dainty 
that earth or air, the sea or the Nile affords, all that 
extravagance, unspurred by hunger and maddened 
by idle love of display, has sought out over all the 
earth. Many birds and beasts were served that are 
divine in Egypt ; crystal ewers supplied Nile water 



Niliacas crystallos aquas, gemmaeque capaces 160 

Excepere merum, sed iion Mareotidos uvae, 

Nobile sed paucis senium cui contulit annis 

Indomitum Meroe cogens spumare Falernum. 

Accipiunt sertas nardo florente coronas 

Et numquam fugiente rosa, multumque madenti 165 

Infudere comae quod nondum evanuit aura 

Cinnamon externa nee perdidit aera terrae, 

Advectumque recens vicinae messis amomon. 

Discit opes Caesar spoliati perdere mundi, 

Et gessisse pudet genero cum j)aupere helium, 170 

Et causas Martis Phariis cum gentibus optat. 

Postquam epulis Bacchoque modum lassata voluptas 
Inposuit, longis Caesar producere noctem 
Incboat adloquiis, summaque in sede iacentem 
Linigerum placidis conpellat Acorea dictis: 175 

"O sacris devote senex, quodque arguit aetas, 
Non neglecte deis, Phariae primordia gentis 
Terrarumque situs volgique edissere mores 
Et ritus formasque deum ; quodcumque vetustis 
Insculptum est adytis profer, noscique volentes 180 

Prode deos. Si Cecropium sua sacra Platona 
Maiores docuere tui, quis dignior umquam 
Hoc fuit auditu mundique capacior hospes ? 
Fama quidem generi Pharias me duxit ad urbes, 
Sed tamen et vestri ; media inter proelia semper 186 
Stellarum caelique plagis superisque vacavi, 



for tlieir hands ; the wine was poured into great 
jewelled goblets — no wine of Egy})tian grapes, but 
generous Falernian, to which Meroe brings ripeness 
in a few years^ forcing its stubborn nature to ferment. 
They put on wreaths, twined of blooming nard and 
ever-flowering roses; they drenched their hair with 
cinnamon, which had not yet grown faint from 
foreign air nor lost the scent it had at home, and 
with cardamom, plucked not far away and freshly 
imported. Caesar learns to squander the wealth of 
a plundered world ; he is ashamed to have made 
war ai^ainst one so poor as Pompey, and desires a 
pretext for war with the Egyptians. 

When sated enjoyment set a limit to feasting and 
wine, Caesar began to prolong the night with 
discourse long drawn out; and thus he accosted in 
friendly speech aged Acoreus, who lay, dressed in 
his linen robe, upon the highest seat. " Sir, devoted 
as you are to the service of heaven, and, as your age 
proves, not unprotected by the gods, expound to me 
the origins of the Egyptian nation, the features of the 
land, the manners of the common peo})le, your forms 
of worship, and the shapes of your gods ; reveal all 
that is engraved upon your ancient shrines, and 
disclose your gods who are willing that they should 
be known. If your ancestors taught their religion to 
Plato the Athenian, was ever guest of yours more 
worthy than I to hear these things, was ever a mind 
more able to contain the world's secrets ? It is true 
that the report concerning my kinsman brought me 
to your cities ; but your fame attracted me too : in 
the midst of war I ever found time to study the 
world above us and the starry and celestial zones ; 
and the Julian year shall not be outdone by the 



Nee mens Eudoxi vincetur fastibus annus. 

Sed, cum tanta meo vivat sub pectore virtus, 

Tantus amor veri, nihil est, quod noscere malim 

Quam fluvii causas per saecula tanta latentes 190 

Ignotumque caput : spes sit mihi certa videndi 

Niliacos fontes, bellum civile relinquam." 

Finierat, contraque sacer sic orsus Acoreus : 

" Fas mihi magnorum, Caesar, secreta parentum 
Prodere ad hoc aevi populis ignota profanis. 195 

Sit pietas aliis, miracula tanta silere ; 
Ast ego caelicolis gratum reor, ire per omnes 
Hoc opus et sacras populis notescere leges. 
Sideribus, quae sola fugam moderantur Olympi 
Occurruntque polo, diversa potentia prima 200 

Mundi lege data est. Sol tempora dividit aevi, 
Mutat nocte diem, radiisque potentibus astra 
Ire vetat cursusque vagos statione moratur ; 
Luna suis vicibus Tethyn terrenaque miscet ; 
Frigida Saturno glacies et zona nivalis 205 

Cessit; habet ventos incertaque fulmina Mavors; 
Sub love temperies et numquam turbidus aer ; 
At fecunda Venus cunctarum semina rerum 
Possidet ; iinnensae Cyllenius arbiter undae est. 
Hunc ubi pars caeli tenuit, qua mixta Leonis 210 

Sidera sunt Cancro, rapidos qua Sirius ignes 
Exerit et varii mutator circulus anni 
Aegoceron Cnncrumque tenet, cui subdita Nili 
Ora latent, quae cum dominus percussit aquarum 

* The Julian calendar came into use on Jan. 1,45 B.C. Eudoxus, 
a Greek astronomer, lived about .36(5 r..C. 

* For ihe following passage, see Housman, pp. 334 foil. ; the 
translation here given is taken from him. 



calendar of Eudoxus.* But, though such intellectual 
vigour and love of truth flourish in my breast, yet 
there is nothing I would rather learn than the causes, 
concealed through such long ages, that account for 
the Nile, and the secret of its source. Give me an 
assured hope to set eyes on the springs of the river, 
and I will abandon civil war." He ended his speech, 
and thus the holy priest, Acoreus, began his reply : 

"To me, Caesar, it is permitted to disclose the 
secrets of our great ancestors — secrets hitherto 
unknown to the herd. Let others think it pious to 
conceal such great marvels ; but I believe it the will 
of heaven that this fabric of theirs should be 
published abroad and that all mankind should learn 
their sacred laws. The primal ordinance of the 
universe assigned different powers to those stars 
which alone rule the rapid movement of the sky, and 
move in opposition to the heavens. The sun divides 
time into periods, and changes day for night; and 
the power of his rays forbids the planets to go 
forward, and delays their wanderings with stationary 
periods. The changes of the moon bring sea and 
land in contact. To Saturn has been assigned 
freezing ice in the snowy zone ; Mars is lord of the 
winds and of thunder that has no fixed season ; under 
the rule of Jupiter is temperate climate and air that 
is always bright ; fruitful Venus is mistress of the 
seeds of all things that exist; and Mercury controls 
the vast element of water.^ When Mercury has 
reached that part of the sky where Leo and Cancer 
are in contact, where Sirius blazes forth and where 
lies the circle which changes the year and contains 
Capricorn and Cancer, whereunder are the hidden 
founts of the Nile ; and when the ruler of the 



Igne superiecto, tunc Nilus fonte soluto, 216 

Exit ut oceanus lunaribus incrementis, 
lussus adest, auctusque suos non ante coartat, 
Quam nox aestivas a sole receperit horas. 

" Vana fides veterum, Nilo, quod crescat in arva, 
Aethiopuni prodesse nives. Non Arctos in illis 220 

Montibus aut Boreas. Testis tibi sole perusti 
Ipse color poi)uli calidique vaporibus Austri. 
Adde, quod omne caput fluvii, quodcumque soluta 
Praecipitat glacies^ ingresso vere tumescit 
Prima tabe nivis : Nilus neque suscitat undas 226 

Ante Canis radios nee ripis alligat amnem 
Ante parem nocti Libra sub iudice IMioebum. 
Inde etiam leges aliaruni nescit aquaruni, 
Nee tumet hibernus, cum longe sole remote 
Olficiis caret unda suis : dare iussus iniquo 2 

Temperiem caelo mediis aestatibus exit 
Sub torrente plaga, neu terras dissipet ignis, 
Nilus adest mundo contraque incensa Leopis 
Ora tumet Cancroque suam torrente Sycnen 
Inploratus adest, nee campos liberat undis, 235 

Donee in auctumnum declinet Phoebus et umbras 
Extendat Meroe. Quis causas reddere possit? 
Sic iussit natura parens discurrere Nilum, 
Sic opus est mundo. Zepli\'ros quoque vana vetustas 

^ At the autumnal equinox. 



element of water has shone down vertically on 
these — then the source of the river is opened, and, 
as the Ocean is lifted up by the waxing moon, so the 
Nile answers the bidding, and does not narrow his 
flood again until night has got back from day the 
hours it lost in summer. 

" The ancients erred when they believed that the 
Nile is helped to overflow the fields by the snows in 
Ethiopia. For there is no North star nor North 
wind in those mountains. The mere colour of the 
Ethiopians, who are blackened by the sun, and their 
hot scorching winds, may convince you of this. 
Moreover, every river-head which is set running by 
the melting of ice begins to rise at tiie coming of 
spring, when the snow first tliaws ; but the Nile does 
not arouse its water before the siiining of the Dog- 
star, nor confine its stream within the banks until 
the day becomes equal to the night,^ with Libra as 
arbitress. Hence also tiie Nile knows not the laws 
that govern other rivers : it does not rise in winter, 
when the sun is far away and the waters have no 
function to discharge ; but, having orders to mitigate 
an oppressive climate, he issues forth in the torrid 
zone at midsummer ; and, in order that fire may not 
dissolve the earth, Nile comes to help the world, 
rising against the burning mouth of Leo, and answer- 
ing the prayer of Syene, when its lord. Cancer, is 
consuming it ; nor does he free the plains from his 
waters, until tiie sun slopes down towards autumn and 
Meroe casts a shadow. Who can explain the reasons? 
Mother Nature ordained that the Nile should over- 
flow thus, and the world requires that so it should 
be. — The ancients were wrong again, when they 
accounted for this inundation by West winds which 



His ascripsit aquis, quorum stata tempora flatus 240 

Continuique dies et in aera longa potestas, 

Vel quod ab occiduo depellunt nubila caelo 

Trans Noton et fluvio cogunt incumbere nimbos, 

Vel quod aquas totiens rumpentis litora Nili 

Adsiduo feriunt coguntque resistere fluctu : 245 

Ille mora cursus adversique obice ponti 

Aestuat in campos. Sunt qui spiramina terris 

Esse putent magnosque cavae conpagis hiatus. 

Commeat hac penitus tacitis discursibus unda 

Frigore ab Arctoo medium revocata sub axem, 250 

Cum Phoebus pressit Meroen tell usque perusta 

Illuc duxit aquas ; trahitur Gangesque Padusque 

Per tacitum mundi : tunc omnia flumina Nilus 

Uno fonte vomens non uno gurgite perfert. 

Rumor ab Oceano, qui terras alligat omnes, 255 

Exundante procul violentum erumpere Nilum 

Aequoreosque sales longo mitescere tractu. 

Nee non Oceano pasci Phoebumque polosque 

Credimus : hunc, calidi tetigit cum braccln'a Cancri, 

Sol rapit, atque undae plus quam quod digerat aer 260 

Tollitur; hoc noctes referunt Niloque j)rorundunt. 

Ast ego, si tantam ius est milii solvere litem, 

Quasdam, Caesar, aquas post mundi sera peracti 

Saecula concussis terrarum erumpere venis 

Non id agente deo, quasdam conpage sub ipsa 265 

^ The '* Etesian " winds are meant, though these actually blow 
from the N. W. 

2 Of which the Nile is one. 



blow day after day at a fixed season,^ and whose 
empire over the air lasts long. These winds were 
supposed to work in one of two ways : either they 
drive the clouds down from the western sky across 
the South and force the rain to descend on the Nile ; 
or else, when the river breaks the shore with so 
many mouths, they strike it and bring it to a halt by 
the steady pressure of the sea; and thus the stream 
overHows the fields, because its course is hindered 
and a barrier interposed by the sea. Some think 
that there are air-passages in the earth, and great 
fissures in its hollow frame. In these, far below 
the surface, water travels and moves to and fro 
invisibly, and is summoned from the cold North to 
the Equator, whenever the sun is directly above 
Meroe and the parched earth attracts water thither ; 
the (janges and the Po are thus conveyed through 
a hidden region of the world ; and then the Nile, 
discharging all rivers from a single source, carries 
them by many mouths to the sea. There is a 
tale that the Nile bursts forth from the distant flood 
of Ocean which bounds every land, and that the 
brine grows fresh owing to the long distance it 
travels. Further, we believe that the sun and sky 
are fed by the Ocean ; the sun, when he has reached 
the claws of fiery Cancer, sucks up the Ocean, and 
more water is raised than the air can digest ; and 
this overplus the nights repay and pour down upon 
the Nile. But I myself, if I have the right to decide 
so great a dispute, hold this opinion, Caesar : certain 
waters, long after the world was created, burst forth 
in consequence of earthquakes, with no special 
purpose on the part of the deity ; but certain others,^ 
at the very formation of the world, had their 



Cum toto coepisse reor, quas ille creator 
Atque opifex rerum certo sub iure coercet. 

''Quae tibi noscendi Nilum, Romane, cupido est, 
Et Phariis Persisque fuit Mncetumque tyrannis, 
Nullaque non aetas voluit conferre futuris 270 

Notitiam ; sed vincit ad hue natura latendi. 
Summus Alexander reguni, quern Memphis adorat, 
Invidit Nilo, misitque per ultima terrae 
Aethiopum lectos : illos rubicunda perustl 
Zona poli tenuit ; Nilum videre calentem. 276 

Venit ad occasus mundique extrema Sesostris 
Et Pharios currus regum cervicibus egit : 
Ante tamen vestros amnes, Rhodanumque Padumque, 
Quam Nilum de fonte bibit. Vaesanus in ortus 
Cambyses longi populos pervenit ad aevi, 280 

Defectusque epulis et pastus caede suorum 
Ignoto te, Nile, redit. Non fabula mendax 
Ausa loqui de fonte tuo est. Ubicumque videris, 
Quaereris, et nulli contingit gloria genti, 
Ut Nilo sit laeta suo. Tua flumina prodam, 286 

Qua deus undarum celator, Nile, tuarum 
Te mihi nosse dedit. Medio consurgis ab axe ; 
Ausus in ardentem ripas attollere Cancrum 
In Borean is rectus aquis mediumque Booten 
(Cursus in occasus flexu torquetur et ortus, 290 

Nunc Arabum populis, Libycis nunc aequus harenis), 
Teque vident primi, quaerunt tamen hi quoque. Seres, 

^ The Macrobii, a mythical tribe of Ethiopians, whose average 
time of life was 120 years. 

^ The river " favours" a nation when a concave bend in his 
course adds to their territory. 



beginning along with the universe ; and the latter 
the creator and artificer of all things restrains under 
a law of their own. 

" Your desire, Roman, to explore the Nile was 
felt by the kings of Egypt and Persia and Macedon ; 
and every generation has wished to enrich posterity 
with this knowledge, but has been defeated up till 
now by its native power of concealment. Alexander, 
greatest of kings, was jealous of the Nile which 
Memphis worships, and he sent chosen explorers 
through the utmost parts of Ethiopia ; but they 
were stopped by the blazing zone of parched sky ; 
they but saw the Nile steaming with heat. Sesostris 
made his way to the West and to the limits of the 
world, and drove his Egyptian chariot with kings 
under the yoke ; but he drank of your rivers, the 
Rhone and the Po, before he drank from the sources 
of the Nile. The madman Cambyses penetrated the 
East as far as the land of the long-lived people ; ^ 
food ran short, and he had to feed on his own men ; 
but he returned with no knowledge of the Nile. 
Even lying legend has not ventured to tell of its 
sources. Wherever the river is seen, it is a puzzle 
to men ; and no nation can boast that it takes pride 
in the Nile as its own possession. But 1 will 
expound its course, in so far as the deity who con- 
ceals its stream has granted me knowledge of it. — 
The Nile rises at the Equator, boldly raising his 
channel in the face of burning Cancer ; and his 
waters proceed due North towards the centre of 
Bootes ; yet his current bends and twists towards 
West and East, at one time favouring ^ the peoples 
of Arabia, at another the sands of Libya. The first 
nation to behold him are the Seres, but they also 



Aetbiopumque feris alieno gurgite campos, 

Et te terrarum nescit cui debeat orbis. 

Arcanum natura caput non prodidit ulli, 295 

Nee lieuit populis parvum te, Nile, videre, 

Amovitque sinus et gentes maluit ortus 

Mirari quam nosse tuos. Consurgere in ipsis 

lus tibi solstitiis, aliena crescere bruma 

Atque hiemes adferre tuas, solique vagari 300 

Concessum per utrosque polos. Hie quaeritur ortus, 

Illic finis aquae. Late tibi gurgite rupto 

Ambitur nigris Meroe fecunda colon is 

Laeta comis hebeni, quae, quamvis arbore multa 

Frondeat, aestatem nulla sibi mitigat umbra : 305 

Linea tam rectum mundi f'erit ilia Leonem. 

Inde plagas Plioebi damnum non passus aquarum 

Praeveheris sterilesque diu metiris harenas, 

Nunc omnes unum vires collectus in amnem. 

Nunc vagus et spargens faeilem tibi cedere ripam. 310 

llursus multifidas revocat piger alveus undas, 

Qua dirimunt Arabum populis Aegyptia rura 

Regni claustra Pliilae. Mox te deserta secantem, 

Qua iungunt^ nostrum rubro commercia ponto, 

Mollis lapsus agit. Quis te tam lene fluentem 316 

Moturum totas violenti gurgitis iras, 

Nile, putet ? sed cum lapsus abru[)ta viarum 

Excepere tuos et praecipites cataractae 

1 iungunt Oudendurp: dirimunt {from 312) AJSS. 

^ The Northern and Southern hemispheres. 

* I.e. the constellation Leo is vertically above that spot. 

' I.e. the torrid zone. 



have no certain knowledge of him ; with foreign 
waters he strikes the plains of the Ethiopians, and 
the globe knows not to whom it is indebted for him. 
Nature has revealed to none his hidden source, nor 
has it been permitted to mankind to see the strip- 
ling Nile ; she has concealed his hiding-places, 
preferring that the nations should marvel at them 
rather than know them. He is privileged to rise 
at midsummer, to be flooded by a winter out of 
season, and to bring with him a rainy season of his 
own ; and he alone is permitted to stray through 
both hemispheres.^ In one hemisphere his source 
is unknown, in the other his final goal. His waters 
part widely to surround Meroe — Meroe fertile for 
the black race that till her soil, and rich in the 
foliage of the ebony-tree ; but, though she has leaves 
on many a tree, she has no shade to temper the 
summer heat, because a line drawn from that spot 
to the sky strikes Leo vertically.^ Next he moves 
past the realm of Phoebus^ with no loss of volume, 
and long traverses barren sands, at one time with 
all his wealth of water gathered into a single stream, 
at another straying from his course and scattering 
the bank that readily gives way to his pressure. 
Then once more his many separate streams are 
recalled by the sluggish channel where Philae, the 
gate of the Egyptian kingdom, divides the fields 
of Egypt from the peoples of Arabia. Later, as he 
cleaves the desert where commerce unites our sea 
with the Red Sea, a gentle flow leads him on. 
Who could believe that the river which here runs 
so smoothly could ever rouse the whole fury of his 
turbulent stream ? Yet, when his flow comes to a 
broken channel and headlong cataracts, and when 



Ac nusquam vetitis ullas obsistere cautes 

Indignaris aquis, spuma tunc astra lacessis ; 320 

Cuncta fremunt undis, ac multo murmure montis 

Spiimeus invitis canescit fluctibus amnis. 

Hinc, Abaton quani nostra vocat veneranda vetustas, 

jTerra potensf ^ primes sentit percussa tumultus, 

Et scopuli, placuit fluvii quos dicere venas, 325 

Quod manifesta novi primum dant signa tumoris. 

Flinc montes natura vagis circumdedit undis. 

Qui Libyae te, Nile, negent ; quos inter in alta 

It convalle tacens iam moribus unda receptis. 

Prima tibi campos permittit apertaque Memphis 'S.)) 

Rura modumque vetat crescendi ponere ripas." 

Sic velut in tuta securi pace trahebant 
Noctis iter mediae. Sed non vaesana Pothini 
Mens inbuta semel sacra iam caede vacabat 
A scelerum motu : Magno nihil ille perempto 335 

Jam putat esse nefas ; habitant sub pectore manes, 
Ultricesque deae dant in nova monstra furorem. 
Dignatur viles isto quoque sanguine dextras, 
Quo Fortuna parat victos perfundere patres, 
Poenaque civilis belli, vindicta senatus, 34( 

Paene data est famulo. Procul hoc avertite, fata, 
Crimen, ut haec Bruto cervix absente secetur. 
In scelus it Pharium Romani' poena tyranni, 
Exemplumque perit. Struit audax inrita fatis 

^ The obelized words are corrupt ; and no satisfactory cmendatio 
has been suggested. 

1 I.e. ** untrodden," because sacred. ^ The Furies. 

? When Caesar was stabbed and murdered in the Senate. 

* If Caesar is killed in Egypt, the deed merely increases th( 
guilt of Egypt in killing Pompey ; and the warning to al 
tyrants, which the dagger of Brutus gave on the Ides of March 
44 B.C., is thereby lost. 



he resents that any cliffs should bar the stream that 
found free passage everywhere, then he challenges 
the stars with his spray, the region roars with his 
waves, the cliff rumbles loudly, and the river 
whitens with foam under the constraint of his flood. 
Next comes the island which our hallowed tradition 
calls Abatos ; ^ it is smitten first and first feels the 
uproar. Here too are the rocks wliich are commonly 
called the springs of the river, because they give 
the first clear indication when the water begins to 
rise. From this point Nature has surrounded the 
wandering stream with mountains, which rob Libya 
of the Nile ; and between the mountains the river 
flows, tamed now and silent, through a deep valley. 
Memphis first offers plains and open country for it 
to spread over, and forbids the channel to set a 
limit to its expansion." 

Thus midnight went by, and they spent the time 
without fear, as if in peace and safety. But the 
frenzied bosom of Pothinus, once stained with 
sacrilegious murder, was never again free from 
guilty excitement : after the slaughter of xMagnus 
he no longer counts any deed a crime ; his breast 
is haunted by the ghost of his victim, and the 
avenging goddesses ^ madden him to commit fresh 
horrors. Once again he as})ires to shed blood by 
base-born hands — that blood with which Fortune 
intended to drench the defeated Senators ; ^ and 
the vengeance of the Senate, that penalty for civil 
war, was almost permitted to a menial hand. Ye 
destinies, banish far this wrong, that Caesar's head 
should fall and Brutus not be there ! Thus the 
punishment of the Roman tyrant goes to swell the 
guilt of Egypt, and the warning is lost.* With bold- 



Nee parat occultae caedem committere fraudi 
Invictumque dueem detecto Marte lacessit. 
Tantum animi delicta dabant, ut colla ferire 
Caesaris et socerum iungi tibi, Magne, iuberet ; 
Atque haee dicta monet famulos perferre fideles 
Ad Pompeianae sociura sibi caedis Achillam, 
Quern puer inbellis cunctis praefecerat armis 
Et dederat ferrum, nuUo sibi lure retento. 
In cunctos in seque simul. ^' Tu mollibus" inquit 
" Nunc incumbe toris et pingues exige somnos : 
Invasit Cleopatra domum ; nee prodita tantum est 
Sed donata Pharos. Cessas accurrere solus 
Ad dominae thalamos ? nubit soror inpia fratri. 
Nam Latio iam nupta duci est, interque maritos 
Discurrens Aegypton habet Romamque meretur. 
Expugnare senem potuit Cleopatra venenis : 
Crede, miser, puero, quem nox si iunxerit una 
Et semel amplexus incesto pectore passus 
Hauserit obscaenum titulo pietatis amorem, 
Meque tuumque caput per singula forsitan illi 
Oscula donabit. Crucibus flammisque luemus. 
Si fuerit formonsa soror. Nil undique restat 
Auxilii : rex bine coniunx, hinc Caesar adulter. 
Et sumus, ut fatear, tam saeva iudice sontes : 

* I.e. betrayed by Cleopatra to Caesar, and then given away 
by Caesar to Cleopatra, who had only a disputed right to share 
the throne. 



ness Pothinus lays a plot doomed to failure : not 
trying to entrust the murder to secret guile, he 
attacks the unconquered leader with open war. 
His evil deeds emboldened him to decree that 
Caesar's head should be struck off, and that the fate 
of Magnus should be shared by his father-in-law ; 
and he bade his faithful henchmen carry this 
message to Achillas, his partner in Pompey's 
murder. The unwarlike boy-king, reserving no 
authority for himself, had set Achillas over all his 
forces, and given him the sword to use against all, 
the king himself included. " Is this the time," 
said Pothinus, " to lie soft upon your bed and sleep 
sound and long, when Cleopatra has seized the 
palace, and Egypt has been not merely betrayed 
but given away.f* ^ Do you alone hang back, when 
all others hasten to the bed of the princess ? The 
wicked sister is marrying her brother — the Roman 
general she has married already; hastening from 
one husband to another, she possesses Egypt and 
is playing the harlot for Rome. She was able to 
conquer the older man's heart by drugs ; if you 
put your trust in the boy, I pity you. If a single 
night brings them together, if he once submits to 
her embraces with incestuous heart and drinks in 
unlawful passion on pretence of natural affection, 
then he will grant her your head and mine, each 
perhaps in return for a kiss. We shall pay the 
penalty on the gallows or at the stake, if she prove 
beautiful in her brother's sight. No refuge remains 
for us in any quarter : the royal husband threatens 
us on one side, and the paramour Caesar on the 
other. And indeed, to confess the truth, guilty 
we are at the bar of so cruel a judge ; Cleopatra 


VOL. I. -jf 


Quem non e nobis credit Cleopatra nocentem^ 

A quo casta fuit ? per te quod fecimus una 370 

Perdidimusque nefas perque ictum sanguine Magni 

Foedus, ades ; subito bellum molire tumultu, 

Inrue ; nocturnas rumpamus funere taedas 

Crudelemque toris dominam mactemus in ipsis 

Cum quocumque viro. Nee nos deterreat ausis 375 

Hesperii fortuna ducis, quae sustulit ilium 

Inposuitque orbi : communis gloria nobis, 

Nos quoque sublimes Magnus facit. Aspice litus, 

Spem nostri sceleris ; pollutos consule fluctus 

Quid liceat nobis, tumulumque e pulvere parvo 380 

Aspice Pompei non omnia membra tegentem. 

Quem metuis, par huius erat. Non sanguine clari, 

— Quid refert ? — nee opes populorum et regna 

movemus : 
Ad scelus ingentis fati sumus. Attrahit illos 
In nostras fortuna manus : en altera venit 385 

Victima nobilior. Placemus caede secunda 
Hesperias gentes : iugulus mihi Caesaris haustus 
Hoc praestare potest, Pompei caede nocentes 
Ut populus Romanus amet. Quid nomina tanta 
Horremus viresque ducis, quibus ille relictis 390 

Miles erit ? Nox haec peraget civilia bella 
Inferiasque dabit populis et mittet ad umbras 
Quod debetur adhuc mundo caput. Ite feroces 
Caesaris in iugulum ; praestet Lagea iuventus 

^ Because Caesar is not grateful for it. 
" The head is not there, • Italy. 




considers every man of us guilty, if he has not 
defiled her. By the crime which we committed 
together and committed in vain/ by our alliance 
sealed with the blood of Magnus, I charge you 
to come forward ; stir up war with sudden uproar, 
attack with speed. While it is night, let us break 
off marriage by death and slay our cruel mistress 
in her very bed, be her bedfellow who he may. 
Nor should we be frightened from the attempt by 
the lucky star which has lifted up the Roman 
general and set him over the world : we share 
his distinction, and the death of Magnus exalts 
us also. Look at yonder shore, which gives us 
confidence for evil ; ask the bloodstained sea what 
power we have ; look at Pompey's grave, made 
out of a handful of dust and not covering all his 
body.^ The man you dread was Pompey's peer. 
Our blood is not noble — what matters that ? — and 
we do not control kingdoms or the power of nations ; 
but for crime fate has given us immense capacity. 
Fortune draws these great men within our grasp ; 
see ! another and a nobler victim is here. By a 
second murder let us make our peace with the 
Western nation : ^ to take Caesar's life can do me 
this service — the Roman people will love those who 
are guilty of Pompey's murder. Why dread we the 
great name of Caesar, and his army ? Now that he 
has left it behind, we shall find him only a soldier 
like other soldiers. This night shall end the civil 
war ; it shall make funeral offerings for mankind, 
and send down to the shades that head which the 
world still claims as its due. Go forth, all of you, 
bravely against Caesar's life ; let the Egyptian 
soldiers thus serve their king, and let the Romans 



Hoc re<^i, Romana sibi. Tu parce morari. 395 

Plenum epulis madidumque mero Venerique paratum 

Invenies ; aude, super! tot vota Catonum 

Brutorumque tibi tribuent." Non lentus Achillas 

Suadenti parere nefas baud clara movendis, 

Ut mos, signa dedit castris nee prodidit arma 400 

UUius clangore tubae : temere omnia saevi 

Instrumenta rapit belli. Pars maxima turbae 

Plebis erat Latiae ; sed tanta oblivio mentes 

Cepit in externos corrupt© milite mores, 

Ut duce sub famulo iussuque satellitis irent, 406 

Quos erat indignum Phario parere tyranno. 

Nulla fides pietasque viris qui castra secuntur, 

Venalesque manus : ibi fas, ubi proxima merces ; 

Aere merent parvo iugulumque in Caesaris ire 

Non sibi dant. Pro fas ! ubi non civilia bella 410 

Invenit imperii fatum miserabile nostri? 

Thessaliae subducta acies in litore Nili 

More furit patrio. Quid plus te, Magne, recepto 

Ausa foret Lagea domus ? dat scilicet omnis 

Dextera quod debet superis, nullique vacare 415 

Fas est Romano. Latium sic scindere corpus 

Dis placitum ; non in soceri generique favorem 

Discedunt populi ; civilia bella satelles 

Movit, et in partem Romani venit Achillas ; 

Et nisi fata manus a sanguine Caesaris arcent, 420 

Hae Vincent partes. Aderat maturus uterque, 

1 These were Roman soldiers serving in the Egyptian army. 


serve themselves. Lose no time, Achillas. You will 
find him sated with feasting, drunken with wine, and 
ripe for amorous dalliance ; be bold, and Heaven 
will vouchsafe to you what a Cato and a Brutus 
have so often prayed for." Achillas was not slow 
to obey the call to crime. He gave the order, but 
without the customary noise, for the soldiers to 
march, and no blare of the trumpet betrayed the 
movement ; in haste he assembled all the equip- 
ment of cruel war. Most of the men belonged to 
the populace of Rome ^ ; but they were degenerate 
and denationalised, and such forgetfulness had 
mastered their minds, that those who should have 
scouted the command of an Egyptian king served 
under his slave and at the bidding of a henchman. 
Men who follow the camp have no loyalty, no sense 
of duty : their swords are for sale ; the cause that 
offers immediate reward is the good cause ; serving 
for scanty pay, they attack Caesar's life to gratify 
others. Oh, law divine ! Where does the hapless 
destiny of our empire fail to find civil war .'' Kept 
away from Pharsalia, the soldiers are distracted on 
the banks of the Nile with the frenzy of their 
nation. What more could the house of Lagus have 
dared, if it had harboured Magnus .'' The truth is 
that every hand pays its debt to the gods, and no 
Roman is permitted by them to stand idle. It has 
pleased the gods to split up thus the body of Rome : 
the great nations are not divided in favour of Caesar 
or his son-in-law ; but a mere henchman has stirred 
up civil war, and Achillas has usurped the part of a 
Roman; and, unless fate averts their hands from 
Caesar's blood, their side will win. Each of the 
pair was quickly on the spot; the palace, busied 



Et districta epulis ad cunctas aula patebat 
InsidiaSj poteratque cruor per regia fundi 
Pocula Caesareus mensaeque incumbere cervix. 
Sed metuunt belli trepidos in nocte tumultus, 425 

Ne caedes confusa manu permissaque fatis 
Te, Ptolemaee, trahat. Tanta est fiducia ferri, 
Non rapuere nefas ; summi contempta facultas 
Est operis ; visum famulis reparabile damnum 
Illam mactandi dimittere Caesaris horam. 430 

Servatur poenas in aperta luce daturus ; 
Donata est nox una duci, vixitque Pothini 
Munere Phoebeos Caesar dilatus in ortus. 
Lucifer a Casia prospexit rupe diemque 
Misit in Aegyptum primo quoque sole calentem, 435 
Cum procul a muris acies non sparsa maniplis 
Nee vaga conspicitur, sed iustos qualis ad liostes 
Recta fronte venit : passuri comminus arma 
Laturique ruunt. At Caesar moenibus urbis 
Diffisus foribus clausae se protegit aulae 440 

Degeneres passus latebras. Nee tota vacabat 
Regia conpresso : minima collegerat arma 
Parte domus. Tangunt animos iraeque metusque, 
Et timet incursus indignaturque timere. 
Sic fremit in parvis fera nobilis abdita claustris 445 

Et frangit rabidos praemorso carcere dentes, 
Nee secus in Siculis fureret tua flamma cavernis, 
Obstrueret summam si quis tibi, Mulciber, Aetnam. 


with the banquet, was open to every treachery ; 
and it was possible that the blood of Caesar might 
be shed over the king's drinking-cups, and his head 
fall upon the table. But the conspirators feared 
the haste and confusion of war by night ; bloodshed, 
carried on with disorder and left to chance, might 
take off Ptolemy as well. Such was their reliance 
on their swords, that they did not hurry on the 
crime; they despised the easiness of their great 
design ; to let slip that chance of slaying Caesar 
seemed to these slaves a loss they could soon make 
good. So he was spared, to suffer in the light of 
day ; a single night was granted him ; and Caesar, 
thanks to Pothinus, gained a respite from death till 

The morning- star looked forth from Mount Casius 
and sent the daylight over Egypt, where even 
sunrise is hot ; and then, at a distance from the 
walls, an army was seen — not stragglers with dis- 
orderly ranks, but such a force as marches with level 
front against a foe worthy of their steel : on they 
charge, ready to endure and to wage close combat. 
Caesar, on his part, distrusted the city walls and 
defended himself by closing the gates of the palace, 
thus submitting to an unworthy hiding-place. 
Hemmed in as he was, the whole palace was not at 
his disposal : he had gathered his forces in one 
corner of it. His pride was touched by rage and 
fear — fear of attack, and wrath at his own fear. 
Thus some noble beast, penned in a narrow cage, 
roars and bites the bars till he breaks his furious 
teetii ; and even so, if any hand were to seal up the 
summit of Etna, the fire of Vulcan would rage in the 
craters of Sicily. Not long ago, beneath the height 



Audax Thessalici nuper qui rupe sub Haemi 

Hesperiae cunctos proceres aciemque senatus 450 

Pompeiumque ducem causa sperare vetante 

Non timuit fatumque sibi promisit iniquum, 

Expavit servile nefas, intraque penates 

Obruitur telis. Quern non violasset Alanus, 

Non Scytha, non fixo qui ludit in hospite Maurus, 466 

Hie, cui Romani spatium non sufficit orbis, 

Parvaque regna putet Tyriis cum Gadibus Indos, 

Ceu puer inbellis, ceu captis femina muris, 

Quaerit tuta domus ; spem vitae in limine clauso 

Ponit, et incefto lustrat vagus atria cursu, 460 

Non sine rege tamen^ quem ducit in omnia secum^ 

Sumpturus poenas et grata piacula morti 

Missurusque tuum, si non sint tela nee ignes. 

In famulos, Ptolemaee, caput. Sic barbara Colchis 

Creditur ultorem metuens regnique fugaeque 465 

Ense suo fratrisque simul cervice parata 

Expectasse patrem. Cogunt tamen ultima rerum 

Spem pacis temptare ducem, missusque satelles 

Regius, ut saevos absentis voce tyranni 

Corriperet famulos, quo bellum auctore moverent. 470 

Sed neque ius mundi valuit nee foedera sancta 

Gentibus, orator regis pacisque sequester 

Quin caderel ferro. Quamquam quis t alia fact a^ 

Aestimat in numero scelerum ponenda tuorum, 

1 Inserted by Housman. 

* Medea. 


of Mount Haemus in Thessaly, Caesar had boldly 
defied all the magnates of Rome, and the Senate in 
battle array under the leadership of Pompey ; and, 
though the badness of his cause was adverse to his 
hopes, yet he was sanguine of undeserved success. 
But now he dreaded the wickedness of slaves, and 
crouched within walls while missiles rained upon him. 
Alanians, or Scythians, or Moors who mock the 
stranger by fixing him as a target for their arrows 
would have done Caesar no harm ; yet he, for whom 
the whole Roman world is too small, who would not 
be satisfied to rule at once India and Phoenician 
Gades, seeks safety within a house, like a defenceless 
child or a woman when her city is taken ; he relies 
for his life upon a closed door ; he hastes from room 
to room, wandering in uncertainty. Yet he has the 
king for companion and takes him everywhere with 
him : he means to get satisfaction from Ptolemy and 
consolation, if he himself must die ; and, if missiles 
and firebrands are lacking, he will hurl against the 
slaves the head of their king. So, we are told, the 
foreign woman ^ from Colchis, fearing vengeance for 
her treason and her flight, waited her father's coming 
with her sword in one hand and her brother's head 
in the other. Yet Caesar was forced by his desperate 
plight to explore the possibility of peace ; and a 
courtier was sent, to rebuke the warlike slaves in a 
message from their absent king, and to ask who 
gave them leave to fight. But the law of nations 
was of no avail, nor could the rights respected by all 
peoples preserve the king's ambassador, the mediator 
of peace, from falling by the sword. Yet who con- 
siders such a deed worthy to find a place in the list 
of Egypt's crimes, that land guilty of so many 



Tot monstris Aegypte nocens ? Non Thessala tellus 
Vastaque regna lubae, non Pontus et inpia signa 476 
Pharnacis et gelido circumfluus orbis Hibero 
Tantum ausus scelerum, non Syrtis barbara, quantum 
Deliciae fecere tuae. Premit undique bellum, 
Inque domum iam tela cadunt quassantque penates. 
Non aries uno moturus limina pulsu 480 

Fracturusque domum, non ulla est machina belli, 
Nee flammis mandatur opus ; sed caeca iuventus 
Consilii vastos ambit divisa penates, 
Et nusquam totis incursat viribus agmen. 
Fata vetant, murique vicem Fortuna tuetur, 485 

Nee non et ratibus temptatur regia, qua se 
Protulit in medios audaci margine fluctus 
Luxuriosa domus. Sed adest defensor ubique 
Caesar et hos adilus gladiis, hos ignibus arcet, 
Obsessusque gerit — tanta est constantia mentis— 490 
Expugnantis opus. Piceo iubet unguine tinctas 
Lampadas inmitti iunctis in vela carinis ; 
Nee piger ignis erat per stuppea vincula perque 
Manantes cera tabulas, et tempore eodem 
Transtraque nautarum summique arsere ceruchi. 495 
lam prope semustae merguntur in aequora classes, 
lamque hostes et tela natant. Nee puppibus ignis 
Incubuit solis ; sed quae vicina fuere 
Tecta mari, longis rapuere vaporibus ignem, 
Et cladem fovere Noti, percussaque flamma 600 

Turbine non alio motu per tecta cucurrit 
Quam solet aetherio lampas decurrere sulco 

^ Pharnaces had rebelled against his father, Mithradates. 

* Spain. 

^ See n. to iii. 684. 



atrocities? Neither the land of Thessaly, nor the 
barren realm of Juba, nor Pontus with the unnatural ^ 
warfare of Pharnaces, nor the region ^ round which 
cold Hiberus flows, nor the savage Syrtis — no country 
has ventured on such crimes as Egypt, with all her 
luxury, has committed. War besets Caesar on every 
side ; already missiles are falling upon the palace 
and battering the dwelling. The besiegers have no 
ram to shatter the gates and break open the building 
with one blow, and no engines of war ; nor do they 
trust fire to do their work ; but with no plan they 
split up into parties and surround the vast circuit of 
the walls ; and at no point does the host attack in 
full strength. Fate is against them, and Fortune 
performs the office of a wall. 

They assailed the palace also by means of ships, 
at the point where the splendid pile projected with 
bold frontage right over the water. But Caesar was 
present everywhere in defence, driving back some 
attacks with the sword and others with fire ; and 
such was his courage, that while besieged he did the 
work of a besieger. He ordered brands steeped in 
resin to be hurled at the sails of the crowded ships ; 
and the fire coursed swiftly along the ropes of tow 
and the decks running with wax,^ till the rowers' 
benches and the towering yards blazed up together. 
Soon the ships, almost half-consumed, sank beneath 
the surface, and soon the assailants and their weapons 
were swamped. Nor did the fire fall upon the 
vessels only : the houses near the sea caught fire 
from the spreading heat, and the winds fanned the 
conflagration, till the flames, smitten by the eddying 
gale, rushed over the roofs as fast as the meteors 
that often trace a furrow through the sky, though 



Materiaque carens atque ardens acre solo. 

Ilia lues paulum clausa revocavit ab aula 

Urbis in auxilium populos. Nee tempora cladis 606 

Perdidit in somnos, sed caeca nocte carinis 

Insiluit Caesar semper feliciter usus 

Praecipiti cursu bellorum, et tempore rapto 

Nunc claustrum pelagi cepit Pharon. Insula quondam 

In medio stetit ilia mari sub tempore vatis 610 

Proteos, at nunc est Pellaeis proxima muris. 

Ilia duci geminos bellorum praestitit usus. 

Abstulit excursus et fauces aequoris hosti 

Caesar et auxiliis ut vidit libera ponti 

Ostia, non fatum meriti poenasque Pothini 615 

Distulit ulterius. Sed non, qua debuit, ira, 

Non cruce, non flammis rapuit, non dente ferarum ; 617 

Magni morte perit. Nee non subrepta paratis 619 

A famulo Ganymede dolis pervenit ad hostes 620 

Caesaris Arsinoe ; quae castra carentia rege 

Ut proles Lagea tenet, famulumque tyranni 

Terribilem iusto transegit Achillea ferro. 

Altera, Magne, tuis iam victima mittitur umbris ; 

Nee satis hoc Fortuna putat. Procul absit, ut ista 525 

Vindictae sit summa tuae. Non ipse tyrannus 

Sufficit in poenas, non omnis regia Lagi: 

Dum patrii veniant in viscera Caesaris enses, 

Magnus inultus erit. Sed non auctore furoris 

Sublato cecidit rabies ; nam rursus in arma 630 

Auspiciis Ganymedis eunt ac multa secundo 

Proelia Marte gerunt. Potuit discrimine summo 

^ It had been brought close by means of an artificial mole. 
Proteus appears in Homer's Odyssey iv. 365 f, 
■ A younger sister of Cleopatra. 



they have nothing solid to feed on and burn by 
means oi air alone. This calamity for a time called 
off the crowd from the close-barred palace to rescue 
tlie city. Caesar did not waste in slumber the time 
granted by the fire, but sprang on board ship in the 
darkness of night. He had ever made successful 
use of haste in wa